Coal Co. Commissioner Questions Ex-Sheriff's Spending - - No One Gets You Closer

Coal Co. Commissioner Questions Ex-Sheriff's Spending


COALGATE, OK -- A county commissioner accuses the former sheriff of going on a spending spree before leaving office, but the sheriff says he was just using the money needed to run the office effectively.

This summer, former sheriff Roy Deck decided he would not be running for a new term. County commissioner Johnny Ward says that after the primary election to determine his replacement, Deck increased his office's spending.

"With the undersheriff getting defeated, it seemed like he really went into some kind of spending spree, and he gave $400- or $500-a-month raises to some of the employees, and some of them $150 and $200," says Ward.

"I felt like to cancel all the cell phones and the wire cards would save money and I gave them an incentive in order to subsidize for their phone," says Deck.

Deck says the bonuses would help cover phone expenses, and he canceled them after an argument over how much money he was allowed to spend. "The commissioners telling me I couldn't spend over half of my cash money I had as of June 31, and the definition nobody's been able to tell me of allocated money," says Deck, drawing a distinction between money allocated by commissioners and the fees collected by his office. "My cash money, I don't feel like is allocated money."

"Ordinarily, when a public official doesn't succeed themselves, they go to pulling their wings in," says Ward.

Commissioners say they were concerned enough about the budget in the Sheriff's office to add $40,000 to get the office through December, during a vote at a meeting Monday. Deck has now stepped down, leaving a new sheriff to take office early.

"Everything will be fine and we'll move forward with it and move on," says Sheriff Bryan Jump.

Jump says he will work with what commissioners provide, but that may be less than usual, after a drop in oil and gas activity from prior years. "The sales tax money was increased quite a bit during that time but the business has slowed down," says county clerk Eugina Loudermilk.

"Especially in this day and time, money needs to be handled in the best of their ability to handle it," says resident Leon Carter.

Deck says he resigned early in part for Jump's benefit. "If I resign 30 days early, then he would be able to go in and spend that money," says Deck.

The state auditor is investigating in what they call a routine "turnover audit" that happens when there's a change in sheriff, treasurer, or commissioner.