Publisher's Note: This post by Commissioner Richardson is to provide a notification that he will not attend a Beaufort County Commissioners Candidates' Forum, sponsored by Police Families United of Beaufort County, yet did provide answers to questions pre-submitted to all candidates. Those questions are here below.
I regret to inform you that I will not be in attendance at the meeting this evening.
However, I am providing answers to your questions below:
1. As a county commissioner, what are your goals for Beaufort county?
ANSWER: To greatly reduce the use of illegal drugs, and return the school system to the teaching of the US Constitution as envisioned by our founding fathers.
2. In the current era of "defunding" the police movement, where is your position moving county funds for our Sheriff's office into more social services projects/employees?
ANSWER: I am against defunding police and the Sheriffs offices. I am against replacing sworn officers with social workers.
3. Do you believe we have and issue with community trust in our LEO's (Law Enforcement Officers)?
ANSWER: Law enforcement officers as individuals do not have a problem with community trust. The leadership of the Beaufort County Sheriff's office has problems with trust.
4. If you believe there is an issue with our communities' trust in our LEO's, how would you suggest we improve these relationships? The problem is with leadership. Leadership should make a strong effort to be truthful and honest with all persons and boards they deal with.
Answer to the second part of the question: The board by law is better educated as to the spending of tax money simply because the board has the final say in allotting tax money to all departments.
5. The Sheriff's Office budget is agreed upon by the board. When the Sheriff's Office makes budget neutral changes in funding to meet current needs -should this be debated by the Board? Do you feel the board is better educated to handle these funds than the current elected Sheriff and his staff?
ANSWER: The board of commissioners has the fiduciary responsibility for every dollar that is collected by the Beaufort County Government and for every dollar that is spent by the Beaufort County Government. It is impossible for the board to pass this responsibility to any other person whether elected or not.
6. Do you think the conditions of our current jail are sufficient in meeting he needs of Beaufort County?
ANSWER: Yes, depending on the ability of the county commissioners, the judges, the district attorney and the Sheriff to manage and decide on the the need to incarcerate the various potential jail populations.
In closing, be aware that the sheriffs' department was never promised nor budgeted for the 5 positions they are now claiming. The claim is a farce.