On Tuesday (6/21/2016) night, the Rutherford County Budget Committee decided 4-3 to hold off on approving additional deputies at the sheriffs office, until the legal turmoil surrounding Sheriff Robert Arnold has been resolved.
Arnold requested that the commission approve more than $1.5-million to hire approximately 19 additional deputies.
The budget committee had earlier approved the budget increase, but again brought the issue up for consideration after the federal indictments were issued.
The sheriff is not talking directly with media, but in a written statement, he said the County Commission's actions are "a deliberate indifference to the safety and security of Rutherford County citizens, Sheriff's Office deputies and inmates."
In previous weeks, several County Commissioners made public statements about loosing faith in the sheriff.
The first to step forward was Commissioner Pettus Read . . .
Commissioner Jeff Phillips said . . .
Commissioner Robert Stevens noted . . .
Many of the commissioners said, based on his past actions, they did not want to find out that the sheriff would hire friends to fill the vacancies.
Now, many are saying that it appears that the only controls the commission has are on the purse strings.
WGNS has requested an interview with Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold, since the County Commission has decided to ask the Sheriff to resign. The interview was requested on June 17, 2016 and to date, we have not been granted any access to the Sheriff. WGNS even told the Sheriff's Office what the questions would be ahead of time so that no extra punches were pulled.
The Two Questions:
- As of June 22, 2016, both questions by WGNS remain unanswered.
After the original 14 count federal indictment was filed, WGNS was told by a representative at the Sheriff's Office that he could not talk about the case in any way. So, we simply asked if the sheriff has decided to step down?
When asked by a listener if he would step down during a previous interview, Sheriff Arnold stated...
If convicted, Sheriff Arnold faces up to 95-years in a federal prison.
The 14-count indictment charges Arnold with honest services fraud; mail fraud; wire fraud; bribery concerning federal programs; extortion under color of official right; obstruction of justice; and conspiracy.
He has plead "Not Guilty."