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“The Commission is not entitled to dictate how funds allocated to the Sheriff are to be used. Yet, by requiring control over the payroll of the Sheriff’s employees, the Commission is able to do just that. For example, in order to grant promotions or administer nighttime differential and overtime pay, the Sheriff must seek approval from the Commission, which approval it has historically withheld.” – portion of statement from Sheriff Alfonzo Williams regarding his appeal

The sheriff’s lawsuit against the Burke County Commissioners is headed to round two.

Sheriff Alfonzo Williams has appealed the January ruling by Augusta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Jesse Stone that dismissed the sheriff ’s Mandamus lawsuit against the Burke County commission.

In a statement explaining his action to WJBF News in Augusta, Williams, unfortunately, continued to play fast and loose with some of the facts in the case. In the portion of his statement above, the sheriff claims that commissioners have “historically” turned down his requests to pay his officers a supplement for those working night shifts as well as his desire to offer bonuses for officers with certain levels of secondary educational degrees – both of which, I would say, are reasonable incentives when taken at face value.

Williams is mostly correct when he says “historically” because, yes, in 2021, the commission did turn down a request for these supplements in the middle of a budget year. However, the commission typically turns down such mid-year requests because those funds have not been included in a department’s budget. They prefer to wait until the next budget cycle to make a final decision.

Also, to the best of my knowl- edge, this is the only time Williams has officially asked for such pay incentives.

A few months later, when the sheriff was putting together his requests for the 2022 budget, he didn’t ask for these supplements to be included at that time either.

Fast forward to November of last year, when Williams sued the commission for control of his department’s payroll after the two parties couldn’t agree on their respective responsibilities concerning the BCSO’s budget.

Realizing that the law was on the sheriff’s side on this point, in December, the commission passed a resolution by a vote of 5-0 stating “that the number of deputies and other employees of the Sheriff of Burke County and their amount of pay shall no longer be subject to the control of the Board of Commissioners….”

Williams is no longer required to ask for permission on how he spends his payroll. If he wants to pay extra to employees working the night shift or someone who earns a bachelor’s degree, all he needs to do is instruct the county to make that change to someone’s paycheck.

There are other facts in this disagreement that remain in dispute; this point, however, is not one of them.

For the sheriff to continue to suggest otherwise is an example of him not being honest with his constituents.

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The principals’ office of several Burke County schools will have different occupants next year.

According to personnel changes at last week’s board of education meeting, Waynesboro Primary School Principal Sam Adkins will retire at the end of this school year.

According to Burke County School Superintendent Angela Williams, middle school principal Wanda Parrish has submitted her resignation, and high school principal Dr. Kaveous Preston has not been offered a renewed contract for next year.

In a phone conversation on Monday, Williams said decisions on replacements for these individuals and any other administrative moves have not been made at this time.

Williams added that while Burke County likes to promote from within its ranks, she is looking for “the best people for the job.”

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