Harrison Co. supervisors question sheriff's money request

BILOXI, MS (AP) - Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara will have to wait on his request for more money.

The sheriff pleaded with the board of supervisors Monday for a budget amendment that will allow him to make payroll for the remainder of years. And that plea for more money was met with tough questions from supervisors.

The discussion lasted less than 20 minutes and ended with a rather testy exchange between the sheriff and the board president.

"We cut back. Fine tuned everything the best we could. But to continue at the rate we're at now, and at the level we're at, I need to see about getting an amendment of $430,000," Sheriff Melvin Brisolara told county supervisors.

Already facing tight financial times with all county departments, supervisors showed little support for the sheriff's plea for more money.

"Quite frankly, to come back in here today asking for another 400 something thousand dollars, when you already had unfilled positions, meaning those were dollars that haven't been spent. There's a lot more play that was in that budget than this right here," said Board President Windy Swetman.

Supervisor Marlin Ladner said there seems to be a "disconnect" between the sheriff's financial numbers and the budget supervisors approved.

"The board budgeted for every employee you had at the end of the last budget year. Every one that was actually on the payroll," said Supervisor Ladner.

Board President Swetman's dismay over Sheriff Brisolara's earlier public comments about needing more money led to a somewhat heated exchange.

"I'm the president of this board," Supervisor Swetman told the sheriff, "You haven't called me or communicated with me in any way. So, before you go lambasting the Harrison County Board of Supervisors, and me in particular, I'd appreciate a phone call or at least come into this board meeting and bring it up."

"Mr. Swetman, it's all recorded. It's all public record what I said you said.  So, if you can't carry it, I can't help that," the sheriff replied.

"I can carry it sir. These numbers carry it. If you can't manage the Harrison County Sheriff's Department, don't come crying and blaming it on the Board of Supervisors," Swetman shot back.

"Oh believe me, I can manage the Harrison County Sheriff's Office," the sheriff told the board president.

Supervisors took no action at Monday's meeting. They agreed to schedule a meeting with Sheriff Brisolara to talk in more detail about his budget amendment request.

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