By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – The sheriff asked the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors on Monday for their support of his proposal to make the sheriff’s office part of the Mississippi civil service system.
Sheriff Charles Rinehart presented a draft of local and private legislation that he would like to have the Legislature consider this term to be enacted for Alcorn County.
Rinehart – who retired from 40 years of service with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks before being elected sheriff – said his lengthy service might not have been possible with changing political administrations without civil service protection, and he wants the Alcorn sheriff’s office staff to enjoy that same security.
When he took office, Rinehart said he retained 41 of the 39 full-time people on staff, and if implemented civil service status would apply to everyone except the sheriff and chief deputy.
Alabama has had civil service protection for sheriff’s offices for many years and Tennessee plans to implement the change soon, he said. Only three counties in Mississippi currently have civil service for sheriff’s offices.
The law would require the Board of Supervisors to appoint three commissioners who would be responsible for administering sheriff’s office personnel policy and who could be paid $100 per month for their service, while an unpaid secretary would assist them in their duties.
At the core of the law would be job security for sheriff’s office staff, who could only be terminated for cause.