Nick Calico to transfer to circuit court, pending approval

Nick Calico to transfer to circuit court, pending approval
Nick Calico. Source: WDAM

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - After issues surfaced regarding ethics violations in the Forrest County Sheriff's Department, a top administrator is set to transfer out.

An order has been entered by Forrest County Circuit Court Judge Bob Helfrich to appoint Capt. Chief Investigator Nick Calico as a liaison for his office, working for the circuit court.

"This is something we haven't voted on yet, we will at the next board meeting," said Forrest County Board of Supervisors President, David Hogan. "When a circuit judge issues an order we honor it, the only option we have would be appeal it to the Supreme Court."

This issues comes on the heels of a June 2, 2017 opinion from the Mississippi Ethics Commission that raised questions for Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee.

In November 2016, Forrest County Sheriff's Dept. Capt. Chief Investigator Nick Calico married Sheriff McGee's daughter, making him the sheriff's son-in-law.

That direct link in the family is something that is specifically named in an advisory opinion published by the Mississippi Ethics Commission.

"May a relative of the sheriff be employed by the sheriff's office?"

According to Hogan, the funds to pay Calico's salary will come from the circuit court budget, not the sheriff's department.

Judge Helfrich said the position, if approved, would help with reviewing bonds to be lowered since the new law went into effect on July 1, allowing a circuit judge to review and lower bonds.

Nick Calico:

Calico was hired Jan. 20, 2005, and has worked for the sheriff's department since then.

Sheriff McGee, who has been sheriff for 26 years, officially retired as sheriff on Dec. 31, 2015, with a $100,000 salary. McGee is currently drawing his retirement and making $23,441.01 a year from the county, still serving as a part-time sheriff, which is roughly 1/4th of his pay.

Since his official retirement, McGee has terminated his chief deputy, Charles Bolton, who was convicted on nine felony counts of filing false tax returns and tax evasion on Sept. 15, 2016, in federal court.

McGee has said he will not replace former Chief Deputy Bolton, but his roughly $90,000 salary has been divided among eight people.

One of those eight people was Calico, which moved his salary from $48,006.40 to $58,006.40, a 20.8 percent increase.