Population drop affects Adams County sheriff’s salary

Published 12:04am Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NATCHEZ — Migrating residents and the law he’s sworn to uphold may rob Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield of $9,600 in salary.

Adams County’s plummeting population should have triggered an automatic reduction in the sheriff’s salary at the beginning of 2012 when he was sworn in to a new term of office.

“It’s the first I’ve heard of it,” Mayfield said Tuesday. “I had no idea of it.”

An accounting oversight appears to have kept the sheriff at the higher salary for the past 11 months.

The Natchez Democrat discovered the oversight Monday and brought it to the county’s attention.

“Nobody even thought to look at that,” Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said Tuesday. “I’ve been (a supervisor) for 17 years, and it’s my first experience with this. We’ll know from now on to look for that.”

“Each elected official is kind of different in terms of the formulas they use to ascertain the salaries,” he said.

Grennell said since the census only comes around every 10 years, the matter simply went unnoticed, but will be corrected immediately.

“If he’s being paid too much based on population, it’s going to have to be modified. He’s going to have to go to the correct salary,” he said. “There’s a possibility that he might have to pay this money back.”

Mayfield said he was happy with whatever is ultimately determined to be correct under the law.

“Whatever is right is right,” he said. “I’m more interested in doing the job right now. We were just meeting talking about a big investigation, so I’m more interested in that.”

“I just appreciate having a job,” he said, laughing.

Mississippi Code, 25-3-25, outlines a sliding salary scale for county sheriffs tied to ranges of county population as defined by the federal census.

Eight different pay levels exist, each tied to a different population range from a low of $55,000, for counties of less than 9,500 people, up to $90,000, for counties with 200,000 or more residents. Adams County falls approximately in the middle of the range.

When the 2010 Census data was released in February 2011, the county’s population had fallen by more than 2,000 residents. The 2000 population was 34,340 — just 340 people over the threshold for the higher pay rate — and the 2010 population was 32,297.

The newest population number also included approximately 2,000 inmates housed at the then new Adams County Correctional Center, meaning the county’s actual non-incarcerated population was around 30,300.

Mississippi law outlines elected officials’ salaries cannot be reduced during the middle of a term of office based on a change in population.

Mississippi Code 25-1-1 outlines that, unless otherwise noted in state law, a term for an elected official is four years.

Mayfield’s initial term of office — the unexpired term of former Sheriff Ronny Brown, who died in office — expired at the end of 2011. He was re-elected in November 2011 for another term that began Jan. 1, 2012.

County Attorney Scott Slover said Tuesday he believed the sheriff was likely overpaid based on his understanding of the law. However, to be safe, Slover said he was checking with the Mississippi Attorney General’s office to ensure no other factors or laws affected the matter.

Slover said he was “not highly optimistic” that the AG’s office would offer a legal opinion that was different than his own opinion that the sheriff was accidentally overpaid.

Prior to the population change, Mayfield’s base salary was $72,000 annually, but it should have reverted to $62,400 beginning in 2012.

In addition to his base pay, Adams County supervisors agreed in 2007 to add an additional $10,000 supplement to the sheriff’s salary, which is allowed under Mississippi law. That occurred when the Brown was still the sheriff. Mayfield filled that unexpired term during a special election in 2009.

Last year, the sheriff earned $82,000 including the base salary and supplement, but after the population adjustment the full compensation should be $72,400.

Supervisors announced this month they planned to ask the state Legislature for permission to give the sheriff up to an additional $20,000 in salary for agreeing to manage the Adams County Juvenile Detention Center. The move has been discussed, but has not taken place yet.

 

  • Anonymous

    Good catch Kevin. All politicians bear watching. I think that’s in the the Bible.

  • Anonymous

    AS MUCH AS YOU IDOL HIM KEVIN, WHY DON’T YOU MAKE UP HIS INCOME LOST. NO ONE ELSE CARES ABOUT HIS INCOME LOST. FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH, HIS REMAINING INCOME IS OVER PAID. THE SOONER THAT SHREFF IS REPLACED, THE BETTER OFF ADAMS COUNTY WILL BECOME.

  • http://www.facebook.com/becky.starland Becky Starland

    WOW!! All this was discovered by the Natchez Democrat?!?! Y’all should give yourself a pat on the back… NOT!!! Try this, use your resources to help with a criminal investigation instead of trying to “blast” a man that is trying to get hardcore criminals off the streets of Adams County,so maybe, just maybe, the population will rise.. What about the Police Department??? Why are there more patrol cars at the convenience stores and at the PD instead of patrolling the neighborhoods at night???? Before I MOVED AWAY FROM NATCHEZ, I never laid eyes on a PD car patrolling my neighborhood.. So Kevin, ride around on a Friday or Saturday night through Roselawn, The Heights, Holiday Apartments, Riverbreeze Apartments, Susie B West Apartments, Montebello, MLK, East Franklin, then travel on over to Main street, the convenice stores that are open 24/7, the Police Department, and report what you see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/becky.starland Becky Starland

    WOW!! All this was discovered by the Natchez Democrat?!?! Y’all should give yourself a pat on the back… NOT!!! Try this, use your resources to help with a criminal investigation instead of trying to “blast” a man that is trying to get hardcore criminals off the streets of Adams County,so maybe, just maybe, the population will rise.. What about the Police Department??? Why are there more patrol cars at the convenience stores and at the PD instead of patrolling the neighborhoods at night???? Before I MOVED AWAY FROM NATCHEZ, I never laid eyes on a PD car patrolling my neighborhood.. So Kevin, ride around on a Friday or Saturday night through Roselawn, The Heights, Holiday Apartments, Riverbreeze Apartments, Susie B West Apartments, Montebello, MLK, East Franklin, then travel on over to Main street, the convenice stores that are open 24/7, the Police Department, and report what you see.

  • Anonymous

    I see you’re back in all your glory, wisdom, and missssspelllllllled words.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com Kevin Cooper

    Becky, we were not trying to “blast” anyone or give ourselves a pat on the back. We support the sheriff and the good work his staff does (ditto for the Natchez Police). We simply stumbled on the oversight by mistake.

    Had we intended to “blast” anyone we could have run the article a day earlier when the issue was first discovered. Instead, we communicated the issue to the county, allowed them to research it, confirm it was correct, then reported it with as many facts as we could determine.

    I wrote the article personally simply because we had several newsroom staff members out on Tuesday, so I filled in a bit. The matter is important, simply because it’s taxpayer money and all of us who pay taxes need to be mindful of how those dollars are spent. No one (certainly not me) suggested that this situation was anything more than an accounting glitch. I told the sheriff yesterday when I spoke with him that I was sorry to be the bearer of the news. He was quite understanding and supportive of getting it fixed.

    Thanks.

    Kevin.

  • Anonymous

    The reason the taxpaying people are leaving Adams county is the crime here and the abundance of freeloading useless blights on society that won’t work. The more people that you have waiting on the “guvment” to take care of their every wish the more the working taxpayer will move. The more working people that leave, the more useless “gimme” people come in. Eventually, you end up with nothing but slums with everyone on the “guvment” dole and no one working which means no tax base and a crime ridden slum for a city. Way to go ND, be sure to cut the money away from the Sheriff’s dept. Next try the city police dept. then when both of those departments are reduced to nothing you can then whine about the crime and wonder what you can do to make it better. YOU and the other liberals caused it and by then all the honest working people will be gone and you won’t have anyone to “fix” the problem (meaning someone to pay the money to throw at the problem instead of actually doing something about it). I for one think the Sheriff should get a raise just for what he has to put up with around here.

  • Anonymous

    AN CAPETAL LETTRES. :)

  • Anonymous

    It’s only a matter of time until the signs leading into town say “welcome to South Fayette”.