DeSoto Sheriff says Mid-South fair not reimbursing security OT - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DeSoto Sheriff says Mid-South fair not reimbursing security overtime as promised

By Chip Washington - bio | email

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC-TV) - The 2009 Mid-South Fair went off without a hitch according to officials, but DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco is not happy because of promises made by the organization he would be reimbursed for security overtime hours.

That will not be the case.

"What they asked us to do is have somebody there on hand at all times, which is what we did, and (they said) we were gonna be reimbursed for our overtime," Rasco said Monday. "Now they don't want to pay us."

Rasco said fair general manager Jim Rout told him in prior meetings the county would be reimbursed.  To that end, he sent the Mid-South Fair a bill for $27,000 in overtime costs, but received no response.

"I asked our county administrator to find out about it at last Monday's meeting, and at Wednesday's meeting I asked if he heard anything and found out we weren't going to be paid," Rasco said.

That meant Rasco had to pay the deputies from his budget.

The Mississippi Attorney General's opinion states agencies can't charge for services they are already supposed to provide. DeSoco County Administrator Michael Garriga understands the sheriff's frustration, and says it should be addressed in the future. 

"Next year if this becomes an issue we may just have to provide the sheriff with the necessary funding to continue providing services to the Mid-South Fair if he so chooses to," Garriga said.

Rasco has considered simply not providing security for 2010's fair, but said he would not jeopardize the safety of those people attending the event.

The Southaven Police Department, which was the lead agency for fair security, has also not been paid for overtime services.

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