|News from Banks County...||
October 25, 2000
Go to Jackson County
Letter to the Editor
Leopards take fifth in state tourney after 4-10 start
Tolbert defends Water Wise deal at Hall forum
Fortson indicted on five charges
Sheriff candidates speak at forum
Honesty, integrity and experience were key words used at a political forum Tuesday night by both candidates for sheriff of Banks County.
Questions from the audience at the forum, which was sponsored by the Banks County Chamber of Commerce, also indirectly dealt with these traits for the office. Incumbent Charles Chapman (D) was questioned about the "misuse of taxpayer money" through the payment of a salary of an employee of his department who was also working for the Northeast Georgia Drug Task Force. His challenger, Mike Boyle (R), was asked how he could run an honest sheriff's department when he has "slandered people with untrue statements."
The issue of the employee with the drug task force first came up with this question from the audience directed at Boyle: "You have implied misuse of taxpayers' money. Do you have specific examples of misuse or are you using implications to attack your opponent's character simply to gain votes?"
"I don't think there was any allusion to issues of taxpayers' money," Boyle said.
He then went on to question why the chief investigator for the sheriff's office, Kyle Bryant, was also paid as drug task force commander for May-June 1999. He said Bryant received over $13,000 in taxpayers' money for this two-month period.
"Why was that money wasted?" he asked. "Why was that money misappropriated for personal gain?"
Chapman was also given a question from the audience dealing with Bryant's pay. The sheriff said that when Bryant was hired by Banks County as chief investigator, the board for the drug task force elected to keep him for those two months so he could finish that year out. He serves on this board, along with the sheriffs of Rabun and Franklin counties.
Boyle was also given this question from the audience: "How will you run your department with integrity since you can't seem to run your campaign without slandering people's names with untrue statements?"
"Every statement that has been made is factual," he said. "The current sheriff has had four patrol cars in the past three years and 10 months. Check the records. He asked us too. I did. I checked his records. I'm not impressed. I think accountability is an issue. Your tax dollars being put to proper use is an issue."
A question from the audience for Chapman dealt with the "high turnover" rate the sheriff's office has had.
"When I first came in office there was some that didn't stay because I asked them to leave," Chapman said. "I'm not ashamed of that. There are others who left for more money...The turnover rate this last year has been low. It is more in other counties."
SPEAKING ON EXPERIENCE
Both candidates spoke on their experience as reasons to vote for them as sheriff. Boyle spoke on the work he did as an employee of the Banks County Sheriff's Department to bring thousands of dollars in grant money to the county.
"I can put federal taxpayers' dollars back to work for Banks County," he said. "I can work for Banks County."
He also spoke on the need for accountability in the sheriff's department.
"The current sheriff has a budget of over $1 million, yet there are only one sergeant and one deputy on each shift," he said. "This is the same number of deputies patrolling the county on shifts eight years ago when I came to work for Banks County. The budget at that time was around one-half million dollars.
"As sheriff, I will put deputies back to work in the county. This will enhance response time. This will also allow citizens to come to know who the citizens are...I will require a drug-free work place...As sheriff, I will run the jail effectively...I will train, retain qualified personnel to curb the high turnover that has plagued the current sheriff. There will be accountability...I will put your tax dollars back to work for you...On Nov. 7, I ask you to restore honor, integrity and experience back to the sheriff's office."
Chapman spoke on his four years in office.
"Being sheriff requires accountability," he said. "...In the past two years, every major crime, with the exception of one, has had a quick arrest. We had an armed robbery two weeks ago. An arrest has been made. We have prosecuted many cases in this county-more than previously...We have managed the sheriff's office efficiently.
"Today, in Banks County, as every day during the week and most of the time on the weekends, we had four uniformed officers on the roads in Banks County...During the past term, we have brought into the sheriff's office, $398,636 from federal and state grants...Every year that I have been in office, I have turned money back in (to the commissioners from his budgeted funds)...I have served the office I hold honestly and I have served it with integrity. I have been fair and I have been honest."
Other questions from the audience dealt with what the candidates would do for the schools and their platform and goals.
Boyle said a DARE officer is needed in the schools and he would ensure that they have an officer, even if he has to serve in that capacity himself.
"We need to put a DARE officer in the schools who wants to be there," he said. "...I will be there for our children...If it takes me being the DARE officer, I will be there for our children."
He said his platform would include a community-oriented policy and improving response time.
Chapman said he would continue to provide a DARE officer for the schools.
"We will do what we have continued to do," he said. "A DARE officer and school resource officer are still in place."
As for Chapman's platform, he said: "I promise to be a working man...I've given myself to this office. I believe in working for the citizens of this county...I will work to conserve the budget. I work to do all we can with what we have. We have trained officers...The turnover rate the last couple of months has been good."
John Williams to
serve on Post 4 BOE seat
Go to Banks
Judge rules 'Baldwin
Three teens arrested
in package store robbery