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Monday, November 30, 2015

Morgan County Sheriff's Office Contract Labor - General Funds and Inmate Housing Account

From 04/08/13 - 12/26/2013 the sheriff paid 27,656.25 in contract labor out of the Sheriff's General Funds Ledger.  

From 01/31/2013 - 12/26/13 the sheriff paid 38,620.00 in contract labor - from the Inmate Housing Account - General Ledger.

We realize that the sheriff can use the General Funds w/o open competitive bidding.  Our question is, was there a written contract agreement with each of the contractor's that were hired and or paid out of state, county, municipal, or federal funds?  Was their background checks completed on each of the persons who was hired in as contract labor?  We know the sheriff hired her oldest daughter.  Was the sheriff's daughter paid out of state, county, municipal funds, or federal funds.  We also know that one of the sheriff's first cousins was also hired as contract labor.  How was she paid?  The same goes for the inmate housing account.  Larry Berzett was brought on board as contract labor and subsequently hired as Jail Administrator.  Sandra T. Johnson is the sheriff's first cousin.  The sheriff's daughter does not show up as being paid out of the ledgers we have.  Several current and previous MCSO employees have stated that the sheriff hired her daughter to work in the sheriff's office.  In addition, the sheriff hired her common law son-in-law as a corrections officer.

This information was submitted to the State Attorney General, Luther Strange.  To date we know of no action that was taken.

Excerpts of the Alabama State Guidelines for Public Officials and Employees

The purpose of these guidelines is to inform Public Officials and Employees of key provisions and prohibitions in the Revised Ethics Law.

PERSONAL USE OF OFFICE – Section 36-25-5(a) states: "No public official or public employee shall use or cause to be used his or her official position or office to obtain personal gain for himself or herself, or family member of the public employee or family member of the public official, or any business with which the person is associated unless the use and gain are otherwise specifically authorized by law. Personal gain is achieved when the public official, public employee, or a family member thereof receives, obtains, exerts control over, or otherwise converts to personal use the object constituting such personal gain.

PUBLIC CONTRACTS – Section 36-25-11 states: "Unless exempt pursuant to Alabama competitive bid laws or otherwise permitted by law, no public official or public employee, or a member of the household of the public employee or the public official, and no business with which the person is associated shall enter into any contract to provide goods or services which is to be paid in whole or in part out of state, county, or municipal funds unless the contract has been awarded through a process of competitive bidding and a copy of the contract is filed with the commission. All such contract awards shall be made as a result of original bid takings, and no awards from negotiations after bidding shall be allowed. A copy of each contract, regardless of the amount, entered into by a public official, public employee, a member of the household of the public employee or the public official, and any business with which the person is associated shall be filed with the commission within 10 days after the contract has been entered into."