Martin County Sheriff Singled Out by Commissioners for Salary Increase

Martin County Sheriff Singled Out by Commissioners for Salary Increase

by Kim Powell
NewsWest 9

MARTIN COUNTY - "That was a bit of a shocker; unbeknownst to me until today, when I was reading the agenda, that a raise for everyone except 'most elected officials.' I had assumed that it was probably geared towards me," Martin County Sheriff John Woodward said.

Sheriff Woodward learned on Tuesday that he has been singled out and that the rest of the county employees and every elected official has received a raise for 2015. The Martin County Commissioners met early Tuesday morning to approve the budget for the upcoming year.

"I'm glad that my team, my deputies, my jailers, dispatch--it's more important to me that they get their compensation--because they work real hard and they put their lives on the line," Sheriff Woodward said.

Commissioners did not want to comment.

However, that was not the only thing commissioners voted on. The court looked over two bids from dealerships to purchase two new patrol vehicles. They voted unanimously to buy the vehicles from a local dealership at about $33,000 each.

"From the two bids that came in, it was not the lowest. But if that's what they decided, like I said, I'm glad for them to have--these will be going to patrol--so I'm glad for them to have good vehicles," Woodward said.

The sheriff tried to purchase new patrol units from a dealership in South Texas a few months ago, but commissioners wouldn't allow it because he did not go through the proper bidding process. This time around, commissioners have taken away the sheriff's budget for vehicle funding.

However, Commissioner Bryan Cox issued a statement saying: "If the Sheriff needs something, he just needs to come in front of the courts and go through the proper bidding process."

Last week, commissioners denied the sheriff's request to add funding for another deputy. Still though, Sheriff Woodward has hope the two can come together in the future.

"I mean, my main goal is to not have division between any office," he said. "We'll do our best to try to take care of the citizens and not overload our guys too much."