Sheriff McGee serving part time, still receives new 2016 vehicle from county

Sheriff McGee serving part time, still receives new 2016 vehicle from county
Billy McGee/Photo credit: WDAM

FORREST COUNTY (WDAM) - Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee officially retired from his position less than two months after being elected.

He has been serving the county in a part-time capacity, drawing a fourth of the pay since January 2016.

WDAM 7 on Your Side asked if the county can operate with a part-time sheriff.

"The boards under the impression that the sheriff is still down there in a full time capacity," Forrest County Board of Supervisors President David Hogan said. "It's hard for me to criticize that because the legislature allows it, we have five or six elected officials here in the county that are doing the same thing and it saves us $75,000, basically in that one position in the general fund every year."

McGee's retirement came as a surprise to the supervisors when they were building the 2016-17 fiscal budget in July.

Sheriff McGee's pay dropped from $100,000 to $23,441.01 because he filed his retirement papers in December 2015.

According to the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), "elected officials" can retire without having to vacate their position for 90 days, and continue their work on a part-time basis.

"I think we looked at it a year or so ago and we saved over $300,000 in payroll just because of the fact some of the elected officials and other county employees are drawing their retirement and can only draw a portion of their pay," Hogan said.

Forrest County Supervisor Burkett Ross said he had no comment on the matter.

Sheriff's Vehicles:

On July 18, the Forrest County Supervisors approved the purchase of a new truck for McGee.

That motion was the last item on the agenda during the supervisors meeting and it was for a 2016 Chevy Silverado, for $41,484.00.

According to supervisors, despite that purchase coming weeks before a multi-million settlement for a wrongful conviction suit, that truck did not cost the county taxpayers any additional money.

There were two bids placed for the truck, and it was purchased with the "Seized Property Fund" through the sheriff's department, according to county records.

According to county officials, McGee currently has possession of a Chevy Tahoe and the 2016 Silverado, and previously a 2015 Dodge Charger that was turned back over to the departments fleet recently.

McGee did not return phone calls seeking comment regarding his employment status with the county.