Full paycheck for Maher likely, city says

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Tupelo StockBy Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Injured Tupelo police officer Joseph Maher will likely receive his full salary as he recovers from a gunshot wound to his head without having to dip into personal leave time or borrow from other city employees.

Reversing course from earlier this week, Tupelo leaders now believe the 27-year-old officer injured during a Dec. 23 ambush by a bank robber will not need to use any leave time or donated sick days from co-workers to collect his full pay, $39,208 annually, as he continues to recover.

Mayor Jason Shelton and city leaders reviewed state law this week to make sure efforts to assist Maher are legally acceptable, and they consulted with the state auditor, attorney general, state lawmakers and attorneys with related experience.

State Rep. Steve Holland said Wednesday the legislature is ready to do anything needed on their end to help Maher receive the third of his salary left unpaid after worker’s compensation payments.

While Shelton said Maher should collect his full pay, he could provide no specifics or timeline related to how that will happen. “I can only express that it’s priority number one,” Shelton said.

Tupelo police officers receive paychecks once a month.

Along with Maher’s injury, Tupelo Police Sgt. Gale Stauffer, 38, died from a gunshot wound during the same incident.

City leaders also continue to explore ways to provide additional financial support to Stauffer’s family.

robbie.ward@journalinc.com