Tulsa Deputies Show Up In Force At County Commissioners Meeting
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa County deputies took a stand on Thursday, in force, demanding change from county commissioners.
More than 50 deputies showed up at the county commissioner’s meeting. Sheriff's deputies say they were there to get commissioners' attention.
County commissioners say they were ambushed, but those deputies say it was a tactic because nothing else has worked.
There was standing-room only in the meeting. The conversation mostly was between Travis Jones and Smaligo.
“When you say ‘the sheriff's office’ and you talk negative, you talk negative about each and every officer in this room," Jones said.
"If you want to talk about a barrage of negativity, nothing has caused a bigger barrage of negativity than the previous sheriff's administration,” Smaligo said.
Much of the discussion centered around money.
Jones said deputies are upset they aren’t getting longevity pay they are owed. They also are upset about a lack of funding for the jail. The budget was set at $31.5 million this year, but the sheriff's office claims it takes $34 million to operate it.
Commissioners sit on the board which approves the jail budget.
Jones: “Have you ever declined that budget and reduced it, as the budget board?”
Smaligo: “For the sheriff's office?”
Jones: “Yes, Sir.”
Smaligo: “Not that I'm aware of.”
Jones: “Excuse me?” (crowd laughs)
Smaligo: “There was no screaming or gnashing of the teeth when that budget was approved."
The meeting is the result of a letter, which Jones hand delivered to commissioners two weeks ago, saying the FOP has "no faith or confidence" in them.
“There are many people in this room that have been punished by the old administration for trying to do what’s right,” Jones said. “Those days are done. We are ready to stand up and we are ready to fight for what we believe is right."
“We want to be as helpful as we possibly can in making sure they have the tools to do their job,” Smaligo said. “He problem is we don't print money."
The discussion will continue for both parties.
As for longevity pay, the board of commissioners says the sheriff has to make that decision.Last week, we talked to acting sheriff Michelle Robinette about it. She says it's a possibility for deputies, but not a guarantee.