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FLORENCE, Ala. — As of Wednesday morning, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said that Deputy John Randall McCrary is no longer with the sheriff’s office—this after McCrary decided to run for sheriff.

Before resigning, McCrary was first asked to take administrative leave without pay until after the election, but Singleton said that McCary running wasn’t his sole reason for requiring him to take the leave.

“When you’ve got an employee or a deputy that’s promising other deputies and employees promotions and positions within the department that are currently held by other deputies and employees, it just makes for a very awkward situation for all the employees,” Singleton said.

Singleton said that adds additional stress and causes other issues and he can’t and won’t allow that.

“In today’s work environment, for these deputies, they’re under enough pressure and stress as it is without the drama associated with this kind of activity,” Singleton added.

Singleton said this is only the second time in the history of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office that a working deputy has challenged the incumbent sheriff. He said it’s a matter of respect.

“I ran for sheriff when I was 26 years old; I was an employee of the department at the time,” Singleton said. “I resigned, and the reason I did that was out of respect for my opponents. There were 12 of us in the race and I knew one of two things, I was either going to be the sheriff or I was going to be working for someone who I ran against and out of respect for them and for myself, I chose to resign. I was the only deputy of five that ran that year that resigned.”

Singleton added that employment with the sheriff’s office is at will and a deputy can be removed with or without cause, but in this situation, McCrary’s employment was never brought into question.

Singleton said if McCrary doesn’t win and would like to work for the sheriff’s office again after the election, he’s welcome to reapply.