The commander of the Davis County jail and a part-time deputy sheriff were appointed county constables Monday, filling the positions that have been vacant since January.
Capt. Phil Leonard, jail commander for the sheriff's department, and Mark Sessions, a permanent part-time deputy, were appointed by the County Commission from a list of 13 applicants.Leonard has worked for the sheriff's department more than 20 years and will retire, then take over one of the constable positions on May 1. Sessions, who worked for the department about three years after taking a medical retirement from the Utah Highway Patrol, also starts May 1.
Constables are not paid by the county but earn their income serving legal papers and notices for private attorneys. The positions were elected until the state Legislature revised the statute in its last session.
In Davis County, the commissioners first considered appointing Sheriff Glen Clary as constable and turning the work, which could earn between $125,000 and $150,000 annually, over to his department.
The job was seen at that point as a way for his department, faced with a $350,000 budget cut in the patrol and civil divisions, to earn extra revenue. But Clary said he does not have the manpower to do the job.
The commissioners in February appointed a committee, including Clary, to study the issue and make recommendations. The committee concluded two constables should be appointed, separate from the sheriff's department.
Commissioner J. Dell Holbrook, who also served on the study committee, said the 13 applicants were all well-qualified and Leonard and Sessions emerged through the interview process as the best of the 13.
"We were pleased and somewhat overwhelmed at the credentials of the people who applied," Holbrook said.
Clary said that Leonard discussed applying for the constable job with him. The sheriff said that although Leonard and Sessions will be missed, "if my people can better themselves, I'm not against it."
The sheriff said he will probably promote one of the two lieutenants who served under Leonard, Lt. Jan Cunningham or Lt. Dave Boucher, into the jail commander's job.
The sheriff also said he welcomes the appointment of the two constables. His department has been trying to fill in during the interim, serving papers, but has gotten behind because of a shortage of manpower, Clary said.
"They've got a mountain of paperwork waiting for them," said Clary.