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Utah County sheriff resigns, citing lack of financial guidance from commissioners

PROVO — Utah Co. Sheriff Jim Tracy has abruptly resigned, amid concerns about budgetary issues for Utah County.

(Sheriff Tracy speaks at 26:36)

The announcement came at about 26 minutes into the regular meeting of the Utah County Commission.  Tracy stood in front of the county commissioners describing how deep the jail’s debt is.  Recently, they had an inmate that required intensive and expensive care, which ate up a very large portion of the jail’s medical fund.  Because of this, Tracy said they owe between $800 thousand to $1 million from that fund.

“We’re currently being referred, currently, to collections.  The doctor over the jail is paid from that fund, and he has not been paid,” according to Tracy.

Tracy told the commission he’s been waiting for any kind of guidance from them, for months, and hasn’t received any.  So, he told them there was only one solution, and that was to find the money within his own department.

“Looking at the budget, the only way I can do that is to recommend that we have a reduction in force of 15 to 20 slots, take that money and move it over to the medical so that we can pay our bills,” he said.

Tracy added, “At his point in time, I’m also resigning as sheriff.”

Tracy’s plan also involved closing two pods at the jail, and eliminate 128 beds and release those inmates to other programs.

Commissioners tried to slow down Tracy’s decision.  One stated, “Let’s have some conversations.”  Tracy responded, “When?”

Commissioner Nathan Ivie says he was stunned at the resignation, disagreeing with the sheriff about how they’ve been communicating about this problem.

“We had told him we would start to go through the process of identifying funding and open the budget,” Ivie says.

The commissioner insists there is money in the budget that can be reallocated.

“In his ‘medical supplies’ account he has a budget of $190,151.69.  In his ‘hospital services’ account, he has $263,766.96 for a grand total of $453,918.65.  All that has to happen is [for Tracy] to say we need a budget transfer,” according to Ivie.

The resignation goes into effect August first.