The Rutherford County Commission met Thursday night to discuss the situation of filling the vacant seat of suspended Sheriff Robert Arnold.
"Things are not well at the Sheriff's Department," said Commissioner Joe Gourley.
With Sheriff Chief Deputy of Administration Joe Russell terminated from RCSO, and Sheriff Major Terry McBurney being indicted by a Federal Grand Jury, all eyes were on the County Commission about what will be done with the vacant sheriff seat.
The Commission discussed many different approaches, but ultimately decided to wait until the next meeting in December to make a decision on moving forward. Many concerns regarded giving potential sheriff applicants enough time to prepare, what will become of Arnold come February, etc.
A letter was sent recently to Acting Sheriff Randy Garrett concerning personnel issues with public confidence in the department's leadership. County Commissioner Robert Stevens requested Garrett be at the commission meeting, but he was not seen. NewsRadioWGNS' Jackson Jones has more..
We spoke with Commissioner Stevens after the meeting..
County Commission approved three resolutions concerning allowing a Legislative Body in a County or Municipality by 2/3 vote to suspend an elected official under felony indictment without pay, establish a procedure for Recall Elections in Counties and Municipalities, and approve the process for filling sheriff's vacancy.
Stevens went on to say in the letter to Chief Garrett:
"The people of Rutherford County have had enough with the shenanigans at the sheriff's office. It is past time to restore integrity and confidence in the department. This begins by removing the trouble within and bringing in only professional people."
The Commission will meet again in December to decide what will be the next step with the Sheriff's Office.
This comes just a day after the Tennessee State Comptroller's Office found Sheriff Robert Arnold and Russell broke a number of laws and policies. The two along with Arnold's uncle, John Vandeveer, face federal indictments concerning their involvement with JailCigs. The Comptroller's report found that both Arnold and Russell violated county purchasing policies.
McBurney is facing up to ten years in prison if convicted on the charge of unlawful procurement of naturalization or citizenship, up to five years for making a false statement under oath in a matter relating to naturalization and up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud. He also faces a fine of 250-thousand dollars for each charge and could have his U.S. citizenship revoked, if found guilty.
Arnold is currently on unpaid leave while awaiting his federal court date which will take place in Nashville on February 7, 2017. He is currently jailed in Kentucky.