By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Sheriff's office has 30 days to appeal civil service ruling
Placeholder Image

Sheriff Gerald Couch will have 30 days to appeal the Hall County Civil Service Board decision regarding two former deputies, County Attorney Bill Blalock said.

The 5-1 decision by the board Friday rescinded the termination for former Deputies Jack Dodd and Larry Henslee, who were on duty when an inmate escaped last year.

Blalock said he didn’t know “exactly what (Couch) wants to do at this time.”

According to the minutes of Friday’s meeting, Blalock and co-counsel Bill Buechner presented videos related to the escape of James Edward Cantrell, an inmate who escaped on July 16, 2013. Dodd and Henslee were transporting inmates from the Hall County Courthouse to the Hall County Jail, when Cantrell hid in an alcove of the courthouse. Cantrell found keys inside a truck nearby and fled, and was later found in Tucker.

The sheriff’s office fired Dodd and Henslee a week after the incident, citing negligence in their terminations. Dodd and Henslee responded with claims the transport was understaffed on the day of the incident.

Dodd asked the board to reaffirm the unanimous vote in November, according to the minutes.

In closed session, board members discussed the “scope of remand by Superior Court,” according to the minutes. The previous vote was voided by an Aug. 12 Superior Court order by Judge Andrew Fuller due to an open meeting law violation.

After the closed session, board members came out and voted.

Ed Barfield, Deborah Mack, Alan Wayne, Heather Glenn and Larry Farmer voted to rescind the terminations.

Robbie Robison voted to confirm the terminations. Jerry Nix was not present.

Attempts to reach Wayne and Robison were unsuccessful.

Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Deputy Nicole Bailes said the sheriff would have a statement within the week.