Sheriff’s Office responds on its internal service fund

Gerald Champagne, the attorney for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, has sent County Attorney Alison Perdue a letter concerning Interim County Administrator George Touart’s recommendation that the county commission take control of the ECOS internal service fund, which has been used to pay off the accrued leave of its employees.

He asks, “…is it appropriate for that I,as General Counsel, advise the Sheriff to release a fund that is dedicated to payment of leave balances without assurance that the Sheriff is no longer at risk that employees may file a claim for non-payment of leave balances?”

Champagne writes that the ECSO will release and transfer the fund if the county assumes liability for such leave balances–not just jail employees, but all deputies and civilian staff.

He also responded to threats made by Touart and his senior staff that they will cut his budget dollar for dollar for every dollar the Sheriff spends out of the fund prior to release to the county. He says the IFS fund has been on the books for years and has a limited purpose—“ISF funds have never been used for any purpose other than payment of accrued employee leave.”