Terrell Co. Commission will report Co. Sheriff to state ethics commission - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Terrell Co. Commission will report Co. Sheriff to state ethics commission

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Terrell County Commission will report their sheriff to the State Ethics Commission.

They don't like the way he's handling the collection of delinquent taxes.

Commissioners also say he's had issues paying his own taxes.

Faced with a tight budget, the Terrell County Commission wants the sheriff to hand over tax duties to the Tax commissioner.

"The sheriff will not allow the commissioner to handle the delinquent taxes," said Van Phillips, Terrell County Commission.

Those who support the sheriff say some people are just out to get him.

"It's a witch hunt, if he has a witch hunt then it should be the same with all the other offices," said Rev. Ezekiel Holley, 21st District NAACP President.

Sheriff John Bowens' attorney the call for the Sheriff to hand over his tax duties stems from a disagreement over the new jail. Sheriff Bowens says he can't move into the jail without more money from the commission to hire more workers.

"I was present this morning when that discussion took place I was highly disappointed when that discussion took place," said Leonard Danley, Sheriff Bowens' Attorney.

In Terrell County the Sheriff is the ex-officio tax collector.

The commission's complaint state he's not doing it and they need they money.

"Our little county has been $1.4 million in delinquent taxes and it's been going on for years," said Phillips.

Commissioner Phillips says he's just doing his job.

He says the sheriff's name is on these papers, showing he's been delinquent on his taxes for five years.

"I get in office and see things don't look right, it's my job, the people elected me to go in there and see what's going on with the moneys, and that's what I'm there for," said Phillips.

The sheriff's lawyer says the letter calling for him to be investigated isn't necessary.

This commissioner says the letter to the ethics commission, is not a witch hunt. They just want the taxes collected.

"It's not necessary and you would think there would be more intelligent people on that commission together with the county attorney that they could sit down and talk about this," said Danley.

Both sides say this issue isn't yet over.

Commissioners say they formally asked the sheriff to appoint the Tax Commissioner as ex officio collector so she can collect the taxes, and he refused.

Sheriff Bowens told us off camera he paid his back taxes, but the commission says he still owes penalties and fees.

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