Jefferson county commissioner says consent decree issue more serious than bankruptcy

Inefficient, ineffective and toxic are just a few of many adjectives used to describe cash-stripped Jefferson County in 120-day receiver report released ahead of a federal hearing Thursday morning.

The report, written by court-appointed receiver Dr. Ronald Sims, claims the county lacks any clear vision, describes its culture as inefficient and ineffective, and points out there has been a lack of strong leadership at all levels of the county.

For decades, the county has failed to put fair hiring practices in place when it comes to women and minorities.

In the report, Sims said he needs approximately $24 million to right the wrongs.

"Drastic cuts are going to be made," said Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown. "It's going to be very harsh. This is worse than bankruptcy."

In the report detailing more than 30 years, Dr. Sims adds he has had commendable cooperation with county leaders, but the leadership needs to do more than cooperate.

"As far as the budget, we're reviewing it," said County Manager Tony Petelos. "We're looking to see what we can do and how, and then we will come back to the courts in a few weeks."