A top official in the Greene County Sheriff’s Office was fired days after Thanksgiving for reasons that have not been made public.
Maj. Kevin Spaulding, who ran the Greene County Jail, was terminated Nov. 29, Sheriff Jim Arnott said Wednesday.
“It’s a personnel issue, so I’m not going to talk about it,” Arnott said. “At this point, we’re going without a major until we get the budget finished.”
Reached at his home Wednesday, Spaulding declined to comment on his dismissal.
Records obtained through a Sunshine law request show Spaulding worked at the sheriff's office for more than 16 years - from 1987 to 1994 and from 2008 to 2017.
According to the sheriff's office, Spaulding was paid $69,972.06 in 2016.
Spaulding's departure comes at the same time that both the jail and county officials are under heightened scrutiny.
A week before Spaulding was terminated, the sheriff's office took possession of a temporary jail intended to save taxpayer money. However, the cost of leasing the jail will soon eclipse any savings to the county in 2017.
The 108-bed facility is made up of a series of semitrailers converted to house inmates. The units are positioned in parking lot, surrounded by razor wire, adjacent to the courthouse.
But the temporary jail currently sits empty, Arnott said, because he doesn't have enough deputies to staff it. That means the county is paying a lease on the temporary jail while continuing to pay other counties to house Greene County inmates.
A week after Spaulding was fired, the Missouri state auditor called for an investigation into whether Greene County officials misused public funds.
Arnott said Spaulding's termination had nothing to do with a whistleblower's recent allegations that officials misused public funds to advocate for the sales tax increase.
The sales tax hike is expected to fund a major expansion of the county jail and ease jail overcrowding, among other things.
Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson said Arnott mentioned the termination of Spaulding at a meeting of Greene County judges and others Wednesday.
Arnott also said Spaulding was not the whistleblower, Patterson said.
Patterson declined to comment on the firing, saying it was a personnel matter and that it had nothing to do with his office.
Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams told the News-Leader he informed his employees of Spaulding’s termination on an internal “chief’s blog.” Williams said the purpose of the post was to inform officers that Spaulding was fired and that day-to-day operations at the Greene County Jail would be changing.
Williams said he had spoken with Spaulding recently but would not comment to the News-Leader about why the major was fired.
Arnott said Maj. Phil Corcoran and Greene County’s captains would be taking on additional workloads until Spaulding’s replacement is hired in 2018.
“Now’s not the best time to be doing any shuffling of personnel,” Arnott said.
(story shared by the Springfield News-Leader. Read the original article here )
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