The county sheriff has two options through which he may obtain authority to employ and compensate personnel to assist him to "properly and efficiently conduct the affairs and transact the business" of his office. T.C.A. § 8-20-101(a) (Supp.1996). The sheriff may either file a salary petition, which is an adversary proceeding between himself and the county executive; or, if the county executive and the sheriff agree on the number of deputies and assistants to be employed and the salary to be paid to them, a letter of agreement may be prepared and submitted to the court for approval. T.C.A. § 8-20-101(a)(2) & (c) (Supp.1996).
Shelby County Deputy Sheriff's Ass'n v. Gilless, 972 S.W.2d 683 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1997).
Tennessee Code Annotatedsection 8-20-101 provides that when the sheriff cannot properly and efficiently conduct the affairs and transact the business of the sheriff’s office by devoting his or her entire working time thereto, he or she may employ such deputies and assistants as may be actually necessary to the proper conducting of the sheriff’s office. T.C.A. § 8-20-101(a). Like other county officials, the sheriff may employ deputies and other staff under a letter of agreement or a court order. The sheriff must file a salary suit or enter into a letter of agreement. Doing nothing is not an option.