At the Monday evening Carroll County Quorum Court meeting, Misty Rupert again pointed out the high turnover rate at the Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center plus what she called “criminal behaviors” among sheriff’s employees.
Rupert said her research revealed there were 43 employees of the sheriff’s office, detention center and central dispatch who left in 2015, 29 in 2016 and 26 so far this year. She said there were others who left not included in these numbers but she did not elaborate.
Rupert claimed Sheriff Randy Mayfield has stated the reason for the high turnover has been due to his handling of corruption as it arises and some leave for higher-paying jobs. However, she maintained of the 84 employees who left from May 2015 through October 2017, only eight were terminated and four were allowed to resign while under disciplinary actions. Also, of the 41 resignation or termination letters the sheriff’s office provided for her, only three gave a higher-paying job as the reason for leaving.
She also mentioned the sheriff’s office was the only office in this county or any other county she contacted which did not redact the copies she received. Therefore, she was able to see personal addresses as well as 32 Social Security numbers.
She also was given a copy of the sheriff’s office and dispatch policies and procedures, which Rupert stated was exempt under the Freedom of Information Act and should not have been disclosed. She counted 191 instances she received information that should have been exempt or redacted under FOIA guidelines, including resignation letters and documents with personal information.
She asserted these violations of FOIA laws carry a misdemeanor charge, and asked if anyone would be charged with releasing the documents. “These criminal behaviors cannot go unpunished or unnoticed,” she stated.
Justice of the Peace Larry Swofford asked Rupert if she had researched the same information for the previous sheriff’s administration, and she replied she had not yet done so.
Judge Sam Barr gave Mayfield a chance to respond, and he pointed out Rupert was a former employee of the sheriff’s office under the previous sheriff. “I contend her actions are completely one hundred percent politically-motivated. I reviewed her personnel file, and she had been refused employment in my administration. That probably did not put her in any better of a mood.
“When she resigned from working for Sheriff Grudek, she alleged ethics violations that she could not tolerate. And last year she created a fake [Facebook] profile that she ran for six months until she was called out publicly. So whatever, it’s worth to y’all, that’s my standpoint on it.”
Further county business
- JPs approved an appropriation ordinance that allocates $17,136 received from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Sheriff’s Office to pay deputies for extra patrol on Beaver Dam. The ordinance also allocated $4994.84 received from the Arkansas State Police to the Sheriff’s Office from a sub-grant for the Step Program.
- A supplemental appropriation ordinance was approved which allocates funds to the county clerk’s office for installation of a ticket window in the Eureka Springs office for added security. Richie said one person is in the office on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. strictly to issue marriage licenses. The employee is the only one there and at times has felt uneasy in certain situations in the past. One choice would be to close the office on Saturdays, but Richie pointed out it is on Saturdays the office issues nearly 25 percent of all marriage licenses issued in Eureka Springs. He said the tempered glass security door would have an upper section which the employee will be able to securely close if necessary.
He added that the courthouse in Eureka Springs is the only one in the state open for wedding licenses on Saturdays.
- Richie said the Federal Aviation Administration approved installation of a 190-ft. tower at the jail facility for 911 dispatch service for the county. The tower has been ordered and plans for its foundation are underway. The tower will have to illuminated, and Richie recommended LED lighting as the best choice because of longer lifespan and less maintenance.
Next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 18, at 5 p.m.