The Effingham County Sheriff has been in charge of all county property since anyone can remember. But some county officials are concerned the sheriff has no legal authority to have that responsibility.
At Monday's Legislative Committee of the Whole meeting, county board Chairman Jim Niemann proposed Sheriff John Monnet retain control over all of the Effingham County Government Center courts building, as well as secured areas of the adjacent county office building. Those areas include the jail, fourth-floor investigations division and the basement.
The board's Buildings & Grounds Committee would be in charge of the remaining county property.
"All I want to do is determine who is responsible for what," Niemann said. "There is no statute that gives the sheriff responsibility for all county buildings."
But Monnet said after the meeting that Niemann's proposal "makes no sense."
"How can they separate one part of the building from another part?" the sheriff said. "Everything runs off everything else in the county building.
"It's been this way forever," he added. "Why does this board feel the need to change that? What's it going to change other than to make it more confusing for everybody?"
Board member Rob Arnold encouraged officials to consider this issue carefully.
"I just want to make sure all our bases are covered before we agree to this," Arnold said.
Niemann said the issue would be broached again at Wednesday's Buildings & Grounds Committee meeting. He agreed the issue needs to be carefully considered before a final decision is made.
"This is stuff that needs to be thought out before we do it," the chairman said.
Also Monday, the committee tabled a recommendation to hire a Cincinnati-based firm to codify county ordinances. Niemann said American Legal Publishing Corp. has offered to do the codification project for $5,900.