Indicted sheriff to receive pay raise beginning July 1 - WSMV News 4

Indicted sheriff to receive pay raise beginning July 1

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Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold (WSMV) Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold (WSMV)
MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

He has been urged to resign by everyone from state lawmakers to county commissioners.

Last month, Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold was indicted on federal charges, along with his chief administrative deputy, Joe Russell, and his uncle, John Vanderveer.

But Arnold has indicated he’s not going anywhere. That means taxpayers will continue paying his salary, even when he goes to trial.  In fact, the sheriff is actually due for a raise.

Arnold’s pay bump kicks in 35 days after he was indicted on federal charges.

But it’s the dollar amount that prompted reactions from local residents.

“He shouldn’t be getting a pay raise period,” said Greg Grant, who lives in Murfreesboro.

Thom Christy felt similarly.

“It sounds a little outrageous,” he said.

“Insane,” said Adam Love, a Murfreesboro resident. “It’s an insane number.”

On July 1, Arnold’s salary will jump to $127,078, according to Rutherford County records.

Based on county population, the state actually sets a sheriff’s salary. But the money ultimately comes from the county’s budget. Arnold’s pay raise was determined by a formula, long before he was indicted.

Arnold’s salary for 2016-2017 represents a 2.03 percent raise from last year, which reflects an average increase approved for all state employees. Every cent will come from the taxpayers.

Prosecutors said Arnold earned more than $66,000 by selling electronic cigarettes to his own inmates.

Arnold was a private partner in the company, JailCigs, which was owned by his uncle, Vanderveer, and his chief administrative deputy, Russell.

Russell is another employee due for a raise. Starting next month, he will be receiving $72,818.

“Another crazy number,” Love said.

But some said indictments and raises are unrelated. After all, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

“If it’s time for him to get a raise, it’s time for him to get a raise,” said Kim Roberson, a Murfreesboro resident. “It shouldn’t matter what’s going on elsewhere.”

But others said the sheriff should resign.

“It’s the principle of the thing,” Grant said. “If he’s indicted, he should step down.”

Russell’s salary is predetermined by a county pay scale, and the amount also comes out of the county budget.

Earlier this week, a county commission committee discussed a resolution requesting the sheriff to resign.

The federal trial for Russell, Arnold and Vanderveer has been set for August 2.

Copyright 2016 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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