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Letter: Sheriff decisions not up to commissioners
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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 administrative 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 that 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 seems to have been the “norm” for the past several decades. Anyone should be able to see that 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 the adjoining counties surrounding Newton. If our Commissioners were half as dedicated as Sheriff Brown, then $18 million would not have been squandered.

Harry L. Long.