BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – The Burke County Board of Commissioners has released a statement regarding recent sexual harassment allegations made against Sheriff Alfonzo Williams, as well as

Attorneys for a former Burke County employee sent the county government a letter of notice on July 25th. The woman claims she was demoted and ultimately fired when she rejected his advances.

The Commission statement also addresses how the Sheriff has utilized the agency’s funds.

Read the full statement below:

The County Commission is obviously aware of several controversies surrounding our Sheriff’s office. It is our goal to deal with each of these properly under law and appropriately within our role as elected officials. We strive to handle each situation in such a way that allows the people of Burke County to know we are taking this seriously and at the same time allowing the legal system to play out.

We are aware of the harassment allegations made by a former employee of the Sheriff’s office. We also know the former employee has legal counsel and the County’s insurance company has assigned an attorney to the Sheriff. As with all civil lawsuits, we will allow the judicial system to run its course. Only after that has occurred would it be proper for us to make comments.

As to the investigation into training classes provided by the Sheriff for law enforcement accreditation requirements, we understand the GBI has turned over its investigation to the District Attorney, and we will await his response.

Concerning the recent queries about whether arrestees by the Waynesboro Police department were properly booked into the jail, since the Sheriff has control over the functions of the jail and the Waynesboro Police Department is involved, we will allow those two to reach a resolution to any issues of dispute. We simply maintain that we support reasonable consistency in how everyone is treated when arrested.

Lastly, regarding the Sheriff’s budget, as we have said consistently, Sheriff Williams’ office is one of the best funded, if not the best, of any Sheriff’s office our size in Georgia. If you do a per citizen analysis, Sheriff Williams receives more money per citizen to carry out his duties than any other Sheriff’s office close to a county our size. If other Sheriffs can keep the peace and enforce the law with far less funds, surely our Sheriff can do the same with far more funds. The County Commission has nearly doubled Sheriff Williams’ budget since he took over from Sheriff Coursey. Unfortunately, though, Sheriff Williams has gone over his budget almost every year he has been in office and this year is on track to be a million dollars overbudget. If the Sheriff were one of the least-funded Sheriffs by comparison, it would be one thing, but here the opposite is true. We must also not forget that Sheriff Williams unsuccessfully sued the County Commission for “more” control over his budget. Even though the Judge ruled against him, the Sheriff continues to reject cost-control measures the County Commission utilizes for other departments.

The people of Burke County have one of the best funded Sheriffs around thanks to this County Commission. The County Commissioners are dedicated to keeping Burke County a great place to live and work. We will continue to provide a substantial budget to the Sheriff, far exceeding similarly situated counties and more than enough for him to carryout his duties. We will continue to outfit him and his deputies well, including our ongoing efforts to spend millions to refurbish the jail and his offices. The Sheriff must do his part and cooperate with us to have the best chance of success for the deserving citizens of Burke County.

Terri Lodge Kelly
Burke County Board of Commissioners