Sher­iff de­ci­sions not up to com­mis­sion­ers

The Covington News - - OPINION - Harry L. Long.

Dear ed­i­tor,

Please per­mit me to com­ment on your re­cent ar­ti­cle per­tain­ing to Newton County’s Sher­iff, Ezell Brown. This re­sponse is in re­gard to the three Newton County Com­mis­sion­ers, Nancy Schulz, John Dou­glas and Le­vie Mad­dox who ques­tioned the le­gal ex­penses in­curred by the Sher­iff ’s Of­fice. These Newton County Com­mis­sion­ers ap­peared to want to ques­tion Sher­iff Brown’s au­thor­ity to man­age his of­fice in the man­ner in which he so de­sires. I have known Sher­iff Brown for many years, and his goal has al­ways been: How can I best serve the cit­i­zens of Newton County?

These ser­vices in­clude two func­tions: num­ber one is how can he bet­ter uti­lize the law en­force­ment func­tions, and num­ber two is his de­ci­sions on how he man­ages his ad­min­is­tra- tive du­ties. The ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties en­tail how can he ob­tain the “best” and “most” ser­vices from his al­lo­cated bud­get. His of­fice of sher­iff is legally de­fined as a con­sti­tu­tional of­fice or of­fi­cer. The terms and ten­ure of his of­fice are es­tab­lished, de­fined and fixed by the State of Ge­or­gia Con­sti­tu­tion and au­thor­ity. This gives Sher­iff Brown the sole right to bud­get, con­tract and dis­burse funds in any man­ner he so chooses. The Ge­or­gia Con­sti­tu­tion was struc­tured in this fash­ion for the pur­pose of keep­ing “pol­i­tics” and “back­room shenani­gans” re­moved from the of­fice of the sher­iff. Ba­si­cally speak­ing, Sher­iff Brown is only ac­count­able to the cit­i­zens that elect him at the bal­lot box.

Any com­plaints a county com­mis­sioner might have against a Sher­iff should en­tail the ex­plicit vi­o­la­tion of a statute, and then it should be given to the county district at­tor­ney for he or she to de­cide if it war­rants a grand jury hear­ing. Com­mis­sion­ers should not “grand­stand” and air their griev­ances and pet peeves in pub­lic to be printed by a news­pa­per. This type of un­pro­fes­sional and un­eth­i­cal be­hav­ior com­ing from Newton County Com­mis­sion­ers has been the “norm” for decades. Any­one should be able to see our dys­func­tional board of com­mis­sion­ers has im­peded progress and de­vel­op­ments that should have come to Newton County. All some­one has to do to verify this is to sur­vey and ob­serve ad­join­ing coun­ties sur­round­ing Newton. If our com­mis­sion­ers were half as ded­i­cated as Sher­iff Brown, then $18 mil­lion would not have been squan­dered.

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