Decatur County Board of Commissioners rescind revised defense resolution

Published 3:39 pm Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to rescind a revised resolution for the defense of county personnel.

Commissioner Pete Stephens made the motion, stating if there were to be a resolution, it should strictly and solely be Paragraph 5 under the criminal charges section.

Paragraph 5 reads, “The governing authority of the county, in its discretion, may reimburse the county official, officer or employee for legal fees in connection with the charges in the event that the charges are dismissed, nol prosqui, or if the charged person is found not guilty of all of the filed charges. The governing authority of the county may set a cap or limit on the amount of legal fees to be reimbursed depending on the seriousness and number of charges to be defended.”

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The paragraph also falls under the criteria that the county official, officer or employee charged with a criminal or quasi-criminal offense can only be considered for county defense if their charges arise out of the performance of the regular duties of their job.

“That one statement would cover everything that was said here and still protect the county and our people,” Stephens said.

The board unanimously passed a second motion to have Decatur County attorney Brown Moseley draft a new resolution based on Paragraph 5, which will only apply to criminal cases. Civil cases are covered by the county’s liability insurance.

The revised defense resolution was temporarily passed at the Dec. 9, 2014, county commission meeting with the understanding it would revisited for a final decision on whether to approve, rescind or change it at Tuesday’s meeting.

The original resolution, passed Aug. 26, 2014, was drafted after four Decatur County Sheriff’s Office employees were federally indicted.

Since that date, a handful of other criminal cases involving Decatur County employees arose, including an incident with former DCSO employee Rachel Trolinger. The Board of Commissioners agreed for the county to pay Trolinger’s legal expense of $5,000 after her attorney, Jami L. Lewis, proved her case fell under the criteria in the original defense resolution.