Callaway County Commission to continue suspended sheriff’s salary

Clay Chism
Clay Chism

The Callaway County Commission tabled a motion to suspend the salary of suspended Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism.

In a meeting of the commission on Nov. 3, it was discussed whether or not to continue paying Chism.

Chism's peace officer's license was suspended on June 9.

A peace officer's license is required to hold office as sheriff and work in a law enforcement agency.

Chism's jury trial for misdemeanors of driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest, detention or stop will be at 9 a.m. Jan. 4 at the Randolph County Courthouse. A pre-trial conference will be at 11 a.m. Dec. 18.

Chism's hearing with the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission for his peace officer's license was postponed last week. The hearing was scheduled for Nov. 3, but was moved to Jan. 17.

Darryl Maylee is serving as interim sheriff for Callaway County.

Since Chism's suspension on June 9, he has continued to receive pay for his position.

He has received his normal salary for these four months. The sheriff's annual salary in Callaway County is approximately $125,000, Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann said during the meeting.

Maylee is receiving increased pay while serving as interim sheriff. Before serving as interim sheriff, Maylee's salary was approximately $80,000 a year.

Randy Kleindienst, Eastern District Commissioner, said the county is not paying two sheriff's salaries. He said they are paying the sheriff's salary and part of the chief deputy's salary.

Nobody at the sheriff's office is being paid what the chief deputy previously made, he added.

"It's not as drastic as it sounds, but the principle is still there," Kleindienst said.

Kleindienst said situations similar to this are not unusual. He cited the ongoing situation in Ashland, whose police chief is on paid administrative leave.

He said he isn't happy with how the situation has ended up, with "all of it dropped on us three [Callaway County Commissioners]."

"I know it's only $20,000, but at the end of the day you can't keep saying that," Jungermann said. "We had discussions this morning looking for an engineer and we can't pay no more than that, yet we're paying somebody to do nothing."

Roger Fischer, Western District Commissioner, said Chism has not been officially removed from his duties.

He added that Chism was not an employee of the commission.

"We are in charge of the budget, but he's not our employee," Fischer said. "And I don't know if he's not our employee, then how in the hell can we do anything with his salary? Especially when that was set by state statute."

Jungermann said he feels he is between a rock and a hard place on this decision.

Kleindienst said he hasn't heard complaints from Callaway County residents about Chism still receiving payment.

Jungermann added he has heard from a couple citizens.

"My whole point there is there's not a public outcry at this point," Kleindienst said.

Jungermann said the soonest the commission might have a "final answer" would be the middle of January.

If the commission decided to stop paying Chism while suspended, they would give him prior notice.

Kleindienst made a motion to table the discussion and "keep the status quo." Fischer seconded the motion.

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