Suspensions leave sheriffs office without chief deputy, jail administrator

7:24 PM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
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MACHIAS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- It's been a trying month for staff at the Washington County Sheriffs Office. In the last few weeks one top administrator there has been fired, another suspended along with another employee, and an audit is underway to determine if money was misspent.

Last month Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith suspended his jail administrator and jail clerk. County officials says there is an independent audit taking place to determine whether Captain Robert Gross and Sgt. Karina Richardson misused funds from the jail's inmate account. That money is collected from the sale of snacks and other items to prisoners at the jail.

Washington County's Board of Commissioners will be meeting next week to discuss the matter. In the meantime, sheriff Smith is also without a chief deputy. He fired his former one, Michael St. Louis, over the weekend citing what Smith calls his failure to catch administrative errors.

"I just want to assure the people that we'll come out of this okay," the sheriff said, "and we'll probably be better in the's lesson learned."

Two lieutenants at the sheriffs office have taken on the responsibilities of the chief deputy and jail administrator. Neither Captain Gross, Sgt. Richardson or former chief deputy St. Louis could be reached for comment on Wednesday. The Washington County Board of Commissioners will be meeting on January 17, 2013 at 1 p.m. to review the investigation into the possible misuse of the jail's funds.


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