Following a host of headlines regarding the sheriff’s office accounting and record keeping, Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams said “more robust” practices are on the way.
Over the past two weeks, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office has come under increased scrutiny following a story in the local newspaper, The true citizen, on June 7 regarding supposedly “hidden” grants in the possession of the agency. At a subsequent press conference held by the sheriff, Williams vehemently denied the allegations, calling the article “bullshit” and “reckless.” Williams explained that there was more to the story than what is portrayed in the article.
Following a public records request, Georgian Virtue published an article on June 16, which detailed the lack of credit card statements and the lack of itemized receipts for over $40,000 in expenses. TGV described a host of record retention policies that were not followed by BCSO, even though the office has full discretion over the use of funds, as well as issues with the mixing of funds from another BCSO grant. the local housing authority.
In this week’s edition of The true citizen, the sheriff released a statement about “spending issues.” Specifically, Williams said:
“[T]his experience leads us to review our record keeping practices and do it in a more robust way. We will retain original receipts and related documentation more strictly….[W]We envision greater accountability to reassure our citizens that we are operating in a fiscally responsible manner and within proper guidelines.
The statement did not otherwise delve into the details of the reforms or the $40,000 spent from September 2021 to May 2022, but it did highlight a number of other matters of public concern.
Journalist Ben Roberts of The true citizen however, did not mince words in an op-ed he wrote about the events as they unfolded. In a separate column he wrote:
“[Williams’] His arrogance and, frankly, ignorance of the law has thus far cost Burke County taxpayers a few hundred thousand dollars in legal fees. His latest antics could cost us more. Burke County taxpayers should demand answers… The commissioners should hold the sheriff accountable. And Williams should be embarrassed. He could also start looking for a criminal lawyer, in case the Feds or the GBI come up with their own set of questions. (You can read the rest here if you have a subscriptionnot)
Williams’ statement as published in the newspaper is below in full.