Sheriff tells veteran deputy considering run for his office: Resign or go on unpaid leave

Published 3:34 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A longtime Alabama sheriff’s deputy who plans to run for sheriff has opted to take administrative leave without pay after the incumbent told him it was either that or resign, the TimesDaily reported.

Lauderdale County Deputy John Randall McCrary said he received a letter from Lauderdale Sheriff Rick Singleton on Thursday informing him of his choices, even though he hasn’t officially qualified to oppose Singleton.

“I’m devastated that I’m without a job,” said McCrary, who also served as part-time police chief of Anderson. “It hurts that someone would do that for all I’ve done for the county.”

Singleton said a state attorney general’s opinion from 1998 gave him the right to take action. McCrary’s announcement of his plan to run for sheriff has “already caused a disruption within the department.”

“Having an employee running against you creates a lot of stress and awkwardness for other deputies and employees,” Singleton said. “I have absolutely no problem with Randall running for sheriff. To be honest with you, I wish he had not chosen to run against me, but that is his right. My decision to have him resign or go on leave was to minimize the negative impact such a race can have on the office.”

McCrary unsuccessfully sought the office as a Democrat in 2014. He said he plans to qualify as a Republican this time.

Singleton, a former Florence police chief, is a Republican first elected in 2014.