Following a host of headlines regarding the accounting and recordkeeping for the Sheriff’s Office, Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams said ‘more robust’ practices are on the way.
Over the last two weeks, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office has been under heightened scrutiny following an article which appeared in the local newspaper, The True Citizen, on June 7 pertaining to supposedly ‘hidden’ grant funding in the possession of the agency. During a subsequent press conference held by the sheriff, Williams vehemently denied the allegations, calling the article “bullsh*t” and “reckless.” Williams articulated that there was more to the story than portrayed in the article.
Following a request for public records, The Georgia Virtue published an article on June 16, which detailed lacking credit card statements and an absence of itemized receipts for upwards of $40,000 of expenditures. TGV outlined a host of records retention policies which were not adhered to by BCSO, even if the office has full discretion over the use of funds, as well as issues with commingling funds from another grant from the local Housing Authority.
In this week’s edition of The True Citizen, the Sheriff published a statement on ‘spending issues.’ Specifically, Williams said:
“[T]his experience is causing us to look at our record-keeping practices and do it in a more robust fashion. We are going to keep original receipts and related documentation in a stricter fashion….[W]e are looking at greater accountability to give our citizens the assurance we are operating fiscally responsibly and operating within proper guidelines.”
The statement did not otherwise dive into the specifics of the reforms or the $40,000 spent from September 2021 to May 2022, but it did outline a number of other matters of public concern.
Reporter Ben Roberts of The True Citizen did not mince words in an editorial he penned on the events as they unfolded, however. In a separate column, he wrote:
“[Williams’] arrogance and, frankly, his ignorance of the law has cost Burke County taxpayers a couple of hundred thousand dollars in legal fees so far. 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 might also start looking for a criminal attorney, in case the Feds or the GBI come around asking their own set of questions.” (You can read the rest of it here if you have a subscription)
Williams’ statement as published in the paper is below in its entirety.