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Sun., Oct. 4
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Jefferson County Sheriff’s final report due tonight


Sheriff John P. Burns is due to give a finalized report about personnel matters within his department tonight at a special session of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators.

The meeting was called by Chairwoman Carolyn D. Fitzpatrick, who is describing the proceedings, expected to be in executive session and closed to the public, as a discussion among the board, the sheriff and county attorney David J. Paulsen.

“I want everyone to hear the same thing at the same time,” she said.

Asked whether the sheriff’s findings will be delivered in a written or oral format, Mrs. Fitzpatrick said that was up to the sheriff but she would like to see a written report.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick said she did not know what the outcome of the meeting would be.

The agenda, released late Friday afternoon, said the purpose of the meeting is “to further address certain personnel matters within the Sheriff’s Department and consider appropriate actions to be taken as a result.”

If the board decides that action has to be taken on a particular issue, legislators will come out of the executive session to vote in accordance with the law.

“Whether or not we make any choices, we’ll see,” Mrs. Fitzpatrick said.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the Board of Legislators chambers, 195 Arsenal St.

Mr. Burns last appeared before the board Jan. 8 during the first legislative session of 2013. The sheriff’s conversation with the board at that point was an “update” on problems within the department, according to Mrs. Fitzpatrick. A follow-up session was scheduled for two weeks later.

The meeting is being called a “special” session only because it was not already scheduled on the legislative calendar.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick said that in her time as a county legislator, she has seen “more than three, less than a dozen” such sessions called.

Mr. Burns, who has been contending with a variety of incidents of misconduct in his department, was the subject of renewed attention over the last week after it was revealed that a nurse hired to care for inmates at the county jail was illegally accessing electronic medical records of non-inmate patients using her access to Samaritan Medical Center’s Meditech system.

The latter part of the week saw Mr. Burns giving media interviews to defend his track record. He also was scheduled to appear on Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham’s noon hour “Hotline” radio show Friday, but then declined without giving a reason, according to Mr. Graham’s blog.

On Friday, the Jefferson County district attorney’s office took exception to the way Mr. Burns had presented its involvement in the decision on how to charge Deputy Adam B. Hallett, cited with having an open alcoholic beverage container in his patrol vehicle.

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