Commission, county attorney agree on involuntary retirement deal

Commission, county attorney agree on involuntary retirement deal

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Jefferson County Attorney Jeff Sewell in the commission meeting. Source: Alan Collins Jefferson County Attorney Jeff Sewell in the commission meeting. Source: Alan Collins
JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Jefferson County commissioners have agreed to let County Attorney Jeff Sewell involuntarily retire rather than vote to terminate him.

The commission met Friday to discuss Sewell's future. In an administrative committee, they voted 4-1 to terminate Sewell. George Bowman was the only commissioner to vote "no."

Commissioners have accused Sewell of interfering with the county's bankruptcy negotiations. Sewell accused commission president David Carrington of not letting him talk to other county commissioners, whom he considers his clients.

Before today's meeting, Sewell said this is "no way to treat someone who served the county for 25 years."

"If you don't want me to be your county attorney you could have come talked to me and I will retire," Sewell said Friday.

The commissioners took a short break around noon and were preparing to take a final vote on the termination, but instead went into private meetings around 1pm Sewell met with other county attorneys behind closed doors.

When Sewell and Carrington came back into the room, Carrington announced they had reached an agreement allowing Sewell to retire involuntarily. He will be allowed to use up the rest of his sick time and when it expires, his retirement goes into effect. Sewell will also be entitled to benefits he would normally receive in retirement.

The official document outlining the detail is still being worked on.

With a salary close to $400,000, Sewell is the highest-paid Jefferson County employee.

Commissioner Jimmie Stephens called the deal "fair." Commissioner Bowman says Sewell should have been kept on because he did nothing wrong.

Sewell had limited comments about the retirement deal, but said he will miss his friends at the county courthouse.

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