Voters will be able to put an end to the misuse of jail food money in Marshall County this March.
In a proclamation from the governor’s office, Gov. Kay Ivey stated that an election to ratify a change to the amendment that currently allows Marshall County’s sheriff to keep jail food money for personal use would be held Tuesday, March 3.
If voters elect to approve the change, jail food money would no longer be allowed for personal use. Excess funds would be placed into a discretionary fund and only be used to benefit the jail or sheriff’s office.
Part of the proclamation states:
“Effective immediately upon ratification of this amendment, any allowances or other amounts received by the Sheriff of Marshall County for feeding prisoners shall be deposited in a separate account in the county treasury to be known as the ‘Sheriff’s Discretionary Fund’ and shall be used by the sheriff for the feeding of prisoners in the county jail. Any funds in the Sheriff’s Discretionary Fund over the amounts needed for feeding prisoners may be used by the sheriff for law enforcement purposes and for the operation of the office of the sheriff. Any funds in the Sheriff’s Discretionary Fund shall be carried over from year to year. In the event additional amounts are needed by the sheriff for the feeding of prisoners, the amounts shall be paid by the sheriff from any other discretionary funds available for the operation of the office of the sheriff. The sheriff shall not be subject to the competitive bid law for the purchase of food or supplies used for feeding prisoners in the county jail.”
In May 2019, Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Albertville, told The Reporter he believed the excess jail food money amounted to an average of $60,000 per year, which doubled the sheriff’s salary.
Editor's Note: For clarification, Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims has not taken excess jail food money for personal use since taking office. He played a vital role in partnering with legislators to have the amendment ratified and placed on the ballot.