Sheriff Says Lawmakers Have Agenda Against Him

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To Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns, it's not a fair fight.

"This has been a 10 year fight for me so far and I'm sure that when I'm out of office, I'm sure something will be done then," said Burns. 

That something is expanding the county jail - already near its capacity.

In the latest round, Sheriff Burns says the county spent nearly $130,000 last month shipping inmates to other jails-- up $77,000 compared to the same time last year.

Expansion is the solution for Burns.

But he says county Legislators are standing in his way.

"The things that have gone on here just recently shows that there is an agenda," said Burns.

Just last month, lawmakers called for an outside investigation into how Sheriff Burns handled an incident involving one of his deputies.
 
The Legislature's General Services Chair Phil Reed says there is no agenda against the sheriff.

"The Board of Legislators over the years has supported the deputy and correction officers in many ways," said Reed.

And when it comes to expanding the jail?

Reed says shipping out inmates isn't a permament fix.

But for now, it's cheaper than the alternative.

"Jail construction is one of the costliest construction a government can do. And we should exhaust all options," said Reed.

Meaning: fair or not, if Sheriff Burns wants to win the fight for expansion, he will have to go at least a few more rounds.

Saturday, October 25, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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