UTAH COUNTY, Utah (News4Utah) – During the Utah County Commission meeting Tuesday, Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy unexpectedly resigned, stating his frustration with lack of communication over funding issues in his agency.
In a meeting with Commissioners Nathan Ivie and Bill Lee, Tracy stated they are short $800,000 to $1 million, in part to large medical needs by one patient Tracy could not discuss. Tracy told commissioners that he had not received any responses to his emails about the funding issues.
Tracy stated he had been asking for direction and advice but had not heard back from any of the commissioners.
“Having no information back from the commission, I take that as a vote of no confidence,” the sheriff said during the meeting. “At this point in time, I am also resigning as sheriff effective August 1.”
Tracy said the only solution to resolving the shortage is by reducing his staff by nearly 15-20 positions in order to pay the medical bills.
“We are being currently being referred to collections,” he said.
Tracy said his resignation will be effective August 1 and will set up a plan to reduce his force by $1 million.
Commissioner Greg Graves was not in attendance in Tuesday’s meeting. But two of the commissioners met privately with the sheriff afterward. Commissioner Bill Lee said the sheriff still plans on resigning. But he said they will attempt to fund the jail medical costs.
“This ties into a broken immigration system that we have in our country and with this broken immigration system we have ripple effects that are ripping around and one of them is this situation that we have now,” said Lee.
He said they have one undocumented immigrant whose medical costs are higher than their entire budget.
“This is how it’s impacting us and we have the federal government that isn’t picking up its end of the process,” he said.
Lee said the county has to pay for the inmate’s medical costs because it is a state criminal case and until that is resolved, the federal government will not pay for medical costs.
But he said they currently have $450,000 from the jail budget that will be moved over to cover the deficit in medical costs. He also said there will not be any layoffs.
“I think that’s an unfortunate comment that was made,” Lee said. “That’s not needed or necessary.”