According to the members of the Jackson County Commission, Chairman Tim Guffey will continue to receive pay and benefits until April 11.
Guffey's resignation was accepted by the commission on Dec. 22.
Despite assuming all duties associated with the performance of the office, vice chairman of the Commission, Jason Venable, stated after the commission's meeting on Monday Jan. 4, that Guffey will remain the chairman until April.
Commissioners have stated that Guffey would remain on administrative leave until then, though no mention of such a measure was discussed during the called session of the commission on Dec. 22 when the four district commissioners of Jackson County accepted Guffey's resignation.
In a statement released by Guffey on Dec. 23, the day after the commission announced his resignation, Guffey cited previously undiscussed health reasons
A letter of resignation that Guffey submitted to the Gov. Kay Ivey made no such mention of medical reasons — the letter left out any mention of cause. Instead, the letter merely stated Guffey's resignation would take effect on April 11 and requested a successor be appointed by Ivey on April 12.
No mention of this timeline was verbally made during the Commission's Dec. 22 meeting other than that Guffey's duties as chairman would end effective "immediately."
When asked, Venable noted that the commission was aware of the timeline for Guffey's resignation at the time of their vote.
Guffey will continue to collect his reportedly more than $70,000 annual salary until his resignation takes effect in April. Records related to Guffey's exact pay amount during the period have been requested by the Sentinel.
In both written and verbal statements, the commissioners have expressed no interest in impeaching Guffey and have stated that his actions have not risen to require such measures.
It was also mentioned that the impeachment process requires a grand jury.
Earlier, Venable stated that the commission only had the ability to impeach Guffey if he was convicted of "high crimes and misdemeanors" seemingly quoting the U.S. Constitution, which holds no legal jurisdiction over the impeachment of an elected county official in Alabama.
The Alabama code governing the impeachment of county officers, however, does provide a method to impeach an elected official in cases of "willful neglect of duty."
The law allows for county and state officers to be impeached for various infractions — it does not contain the words "high crimes or misdemeanors" — These include "willful neglect of duty," "corruption in office," incompetency, alcohol related offenses and offenses that involve "moral turpitude" related to the office.
Commissioners stated that no such action was needed as they had understood the timeline for Guffey's resignation at the time they accepted the letter and stated that any measure to impeach Guffey would require a Grand Jury to be convened — according to John Porter, the county attorney, the next Grand Jury would not be held until February.
When asked whether they felt that a refusal to appear before the commission and perform the duties required of the chairman all commissioners present — every member of the county commission except for Guffey — stated that they did not believe such action was necessary at this time.
The commission offered no further comment on the issue.
Since Guffey's resignation, and an ongoing investigation into "inappropriate surveillance" in the courthouse, information regarding the nature of his resignation has remained limited as both commissioners and county employees have avoided making public comments.
Commissioners have also not confirmed or denied any connection between the two events.
During the Commission's meeting on Jan. 4, Venable noted that various employees in the courthouse have expressed concerns about the potential for more hidden cameras within the building.
Some county employees have described the environment in the courthouse as "tense," and explained that concerns related to more hidden surveillance equipment within private areas of the building are very real for county employees.
An individual familiar with the investigation into the inappropriate surveillance in the courthouse, who wished to remain anonymous, stated they did not believe there to be any more cameras, however. Describing the matter as appearing to be "cut and dry."