Coal Co. Commissioner and former Sheriff speak about budget shortfalls

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COAL COUNTY, OK -- One Coal County Commissioner says the Sheriff's Office has spent way too much money over the past few months. In fact he says they had to add $40,000 dollars to the Sheriff's budget just to get through this fiscal year.

County Commissioner Johnny Ward says they are looking into allegations of possible misuse of funds by former Coal County Sheriff Roy Deck, but Deck tells us that never happened. He does say though, that budget shortfalls influenced his decision to retire a month earlier than expected. Deck officially sent a letter telling county officials he would be resigning back on November 16, 2012.

Coal County Commissioner Johnny Ward says each year the Sheriff's Office gets a budget of up to $900,000 dollars, but with about half the fiscal year left former Sheriff Roy Deck has already spent about $40,000 dollars more than he should have, which Ward says is against a state statute.

"Any elected official that's in office that declares that he is not going to be a candidate or does not secede himself, whether it be through defeat or retirement or whatever -- can't go spend over one half of their allocated budget," Ward said.

Ward says Deck spent taxpayer money to give his employees raises of up to $500 dollar per month, fix department vehicles and treat inmates at hospitals, but Deck says the money was spent appropriately and was actually money from the DOC and serving papers -- money they worked for.

"The money didn't go in my pocket. The money went to operate the jail went to operate the vehicles and my employees," Deck said.

Ward says Deck also worked with a county official that he should not have been working with.

"Possibly the sheriff had been spending money with an Excise Board member and that's not allowed by law either," Ward said.

Deck says that was a mistake, but he never knew about that law.

"I didn't know about this until recently you know and if he's been on the Excise Board for seven years why hasn't somebody caught it. You know auditors come here every two years and audit us," Deck said.

Coal County resident Leon Carter says every leader should know and abide by the rules.

"Who knows the law on this thing? Because the law is pretty plain you know the statutes read it pretty plain what it is," Carter said.

Ward says right now he is working to make sure county leaders understand the laws and trying to move forward by making things right.

"You don't want to point a finger at an individual, you just want to make something right and in this case I think when he resigned his position that's a right a step in the right direction," Ward said.

"I have gave my life and I have done several tours of duty down here and its time for somebody else to do it," Deck said.

Anytime a new sheriff takes office, Deck says an audit is performed, and he says he actually called for the current audit.

Coal County Sheriff-elect Bryan Jump officially took over the Sheriff's Office early Saturday morning.

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