Sheriff’s employees association weighs in on sheriff search

While the Jackson County Sheriff’s Employees Association hasn’t formally endorsed any of the candidates, leaders are indirectly speaking out against one.

The union has a long history with former Sheriff Mike Winters.

Winters referenced that history- a threat of layoffs – in today’s interviews.

“One of the worst things was this 66 layoff notices… you affect people’s family, you turn their world upside down, and that sucks. You have to hand them a pink slip… they’re a year on the job. There’s nothing worse… nothing worse. I don’t ever want to go there again,” Winters said.

The layoff notices went out to 66 people back in February of 2013.

At the time, the sheriff cited an unexpected budget shortfall.

While the layoffs didn’t end up happening, the budget drama continued for weeks.

Today the president of the union told NBC5 he’s not interested in looking back.

He wants to focus on the future.

“I don’t really want to get into a tit for tat with Mike Winters about the past. We want to keep looking forward… we want to keep moving forward… and keep the positive things going that we have accomplished in the past two years,” Noah Strohmeyer said.

In a letter to the public released last night, the union asked the community to call commissioners.

It says “tell them you value stable growth over irrational promises and quick fixes.”

It goes on to say “it was not long ago that 66 layoff notices were issued throughout the sheriff’s office as a direct result of poor budget management and leadership.”

NBC5 spoke with Mike Winters.

He says the letter isn’t representative of what happened, and says the threatened layoffs were not the result of problems with the way he handled the department’s money.

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