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Empty jail beds fuel feud between Swain sheriff, county

The new Swain jail costs the county $610,000 a year more than the old jail: $450,000 in debt payments and an additional $160,000 on overhead and staff.

The county hoped to make $500,000 a year housing prisoners from out of the county to offset the cost.

The county’s old jail was unsafe and dilapidated, so a new one was in order anyway. County leaders figured they may as well make it extra big and try to subsidize the cost by housing inmates from out of the county, and end up with a new jail for relatively little of their own money.

But revenue projections fell far short. Over the past 12 months, the county only made $140,000 housing out-of-county prisoners, a far cry from the half million it hoped for, according to County Manager Kevin King.

King said that the jail is not an undue burden for the county, however.

“We are making it just fine,” King said. “We are covering the debt. We are covering the operation. We are covering personnel.”

That said, if the new jail brought in more money, it could bolster the sheriff’s budget — which is a bitter source of contention between the county commissioners and Sheriff Curtis Cochran.

“When he first started as sheriff, I told him all this is done as a business plan,” County Manager Kevin King said. “The more revenue generated the more deputies and law enforcement we are going to be able to fund.”

When the new jail opened last fall, the county added five additional jailers, two new deputies and an extra secretary.

But King said the additional staff was contingent on an influx of inmates, which never materialized.

“It is like McDonald’s or anywhere else. If you aren’t selling hamburgers they are going to lay people off and send them home,” King said.

As the county grappled with a budget shortfall for the new fiscal year, commissioners looked to the jail to make cuts. The county cut four positions that had been added in the past year.

Two of the laid-off staff had been hired as jailers but had since been made deputies after Cochran realized he didn’t need that many jailers. A third layoff targeted one of the two new deputies added over the past year. The fourth layoff targeted the additional secretary position added over the past year.

 

An ongoing feud

Cochran still has one more deputy and three more jailers than he did a year ago, but has publicly criticized the commissioners’ decision to cut his staff. He accused the county commissioners of jeopardizing the safety of Swain County’s citizens by underfunding his department.

Cochran had increased deputies on the night shift from two to three. Now, he’s back down to two. If both are tied up on calls, residents are left with no backup, he said.

King points out that Cochran’s budget is still bigger than his predecessor’s, former sheriff Bob Ogle.

In reality, the Cochran’s budget comprises the exact same percentage of the total county budget now as it did under Ogle.

For the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the sheriff’s office accounts for 8 percent of the total county budget and the jail accounts for 7 percent of the county’s budget. It’s the exact same percentage as 2005-2006, the last budget allocated by commissioners under the tenure of former sheriff Bob Ogle.

Cochran’s supporters have accused the commissioners of playing politics with his budget. The commissioners are all Democrats, while Cochran is a Republican.

“There is nothing political about this issue,” King countered.

King pointed to the number of new vehicles the county provided Cochran’s office this year. Typically, the county replaces two or three vehicles a year, and sometimes skips a year altogether. This year, the county bought five new vehicles for the sheriff’s office.

Cochran and the commissioners have been warring over the sheriff’s budget since Cochran took office in late 2006. Cochran suffered a major blow to his own salary when the commissioners ended a lucrative arrangement to feed inmates enjoyed by Cochran’s predecessors. When the commissioners decided to end the long-standing practice on the eve of Cochran taking office, it was seen as political retribution.

Cochran has a lawsuit pending against the commissioners, claiming they effectively reduced his salary in violation of state statutes. Commissioner David Monteith has consistently sided with Cochran and against his fellow commissioners on budget issues.

 

Budget expenses

Swain county budget expenditures by year:

Jail, 2009-2010:    $875,000

Jail, 2006-2007:    $715,000

Percent of total county budget both years:    7%

Sheriff Dept., 2009-2010:    $964,000

Sheriff Dept., 2006-2007:    $796,000

Percent of total county budget both years:    8%

Swain budget cuts target Sheriff’s office

Swain County commissioners have opted to target one department rather than spreading out county budget cuts among all county employees.

Commissioners have scrapped the idea for a mandatory one-week employee furlough, which they had initially seemed to support, and have instead proposed cutting three deputies and one secretary from the Sheriff’s office.

It’s a move that could further the divide between commissioners and Sheriff Curtis Cochran, who is suing the county for allegedly paying him too little.

County Manager Kevin King proposed laying off a single deputy at an initial budget work session May 14 and enforcing a mandatory county employee furlough to help make up for the budget shortfall. King also proposed laying off two other positions — an environmental health inspector and a building inspector; both in departments that have taken a big hit with the slowdown of second home construction.

Then, at a second budget work session on Thursday, June 11, the majority of commissioners apparently changed their minds. Commissioner David Monteith, however, said the change of heart took him by surprise.

“We had a budget retreat four weeks ago, and four of us had tentatively told King we were OK with one position from the sheriff’s department and the environmental health and inspections departments being cut. Plus, we were going to have a furlough,” Monteith said. “I thought everybody was for this and all of a sudden, they weren’t.”

Monteith is adamantly against cutting sheriff’s department positions and says he won’t vote for the budget if that proposal is included.

“Times get hard, and crime goes up. Why are you going to pick on the one department that if crime goes up, you need these people on the streets to do their jobs?” Monteith demanded.

Apparently, the proposal to cut more law enforcement positions was laid out by King after the first budget work session as an alternative to a mandatory furlough.

“To me and the other commissioners, this one made the most sense,” said Commissioner Steve Moon.

The two deputies commissioners propose to lay off have only been in their positions since April, when they were promoted from their former position as jailers. Sheriff Curtis Cochran said the two were not needed in the jail, and asked that they be moved to the sheriff’s office as deputies. The county agreed.

As is frequently the case when looking at who to lay off, the county decided that “the last people hired are the first ones to go,” King said.

“We looked around and they were the last in and the first out,” said Commissioner Chairman Glenn Jones.

Though supportive of the layoffs, Moon had initially expressed reluctance to trim positions in law enforcement.

“I’d hate to see us lose a position in the Sheriff’s department because in hard times, crime is rampant,” he said at the first budget workshop. “We need to support them, not cut positions.”

Now, though, Moon appears to have changed his stance.

“It’s unfortunate that we had to lay off some employees, but if we laid off the ones who are hired last with the shortest time on the job, to me that seems fair, though it’s unfortunate,” Moon said.

Moon said he never supported an employee furlough, though he didn’t speak out against it at the first budget workshop.

“I never did agree with the employee furlough. I did not like that idea,” Moon said. “People live payday to payday, and I didn’t think that was fair to the employees with the county.”

Monteith disagrees, though he said he didn’t entirely like the furlough either.

“I didn’t like to give the employees a furlough, but I would have rather done that than firing four out of one department,” Montieth said. “I just thought it would make more common sense to drop the salaries of all the people rather than pulling the cuts from one department.”

Moon and Jones say the Sheriff’s office will manage just fine, however.

“No, it’s not a good time to cut employees from the sheriff’s department, but now Cochran should have the same amount of deputies that (the former Sheriff) Ogle had,” said Moon. “Hopefully he can manage with what he’s got.”

Commissioners were scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday, June 16, as this paper went to press. The budget is expected to pass.

Suttles gets nod for Haywood sheriff

The Haywood County Democratic Party has tapped Chief Deputy Bobby Suttles to replace outgoing Sheriff Tom Alexander.

Suttles is a 14-year employee of the sheriff’s department and a former Waynesville police officer. He won 111 of 166 votes cast by members of the Democratic Executive Committee on Feb. 7.

A total of five candidates applied for the sheriff post. Only three received a nomination from the Executive Committee — Suttles, retired NC Highway Patrol trooper Albert Allen, and Maggie Valley police officer Russell Gilliland. The other two — Ken Hollifield, a truck driver, and Raymond Ezell, a retired postal inspector, did not receive nominations.

Haywood County Commissioners must approve Suttles before he is officially appointed as the new sheriff, but they are bound to rubber stamp the party’s recommendation.

— By Julia Merchant

Electing sheriffs leaves too much to chance

By Bob Scott • Guest Columnist

A municipality would never think of electing a chief of police. But in North Carolina, sheriffs are elected like a high school popularity contest. When I tell people there are no qualifications required to run for sheriff, they are amazed.

Anyone can be elected sheriff without ever having completed first grade — although it’s not likely. A sheriff does not have to complete basic law enforcement training or have any law enforcement experience. This issue has surfaced again with the incident involving Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran.

Media reports say Cochran has had no law enforcement experience nor has he undergone basic law enforcement training. (The Smoky Mountain News, Jan. 21-26)

It is time for counties to do away with this archaic office bound by tradition and transfer the law enforcement function to professionals hired by and answerable to a commission or other oversight body. A county could still have an elected sheriff, who would be responsible for the jail, court security and civil process. The law enforcement function would be taken over by county police headed by an appointed chief. This would take partisan politics out of the law enforcement function, bring professionalism to the office, and establish accountability to the public.

Presently, the only control county commissioners have over a sheriff is his/her budget. Otherwise, the sheriff is not answerable to anyone for four years until he/she has to answer to the public at election time. Unfortunately, without any oversight, the public is often unaware of a sheriff’s effectiveness.

One argument to keep the office of sheriff is that it is the only office mentioned in the North Carolina Constitution. However, there is no mention in the constitution of the sheriff having law enforcement powers or protecting life and property.

Just for argument’s sake, here is a sampling of requirements some small towns are requiring in current advertisements for police chiefs:

• Archdale (Pop. 9,900) Bachelor’s degree. MA preferred in criminal justice related fields, advanced law enforcement certificate, high-level supervision experience.

• Mount Gilead (Pop. 1,389) Associate’s degree and minimum of three years experience.

• Erwin (Pop. 4,770) Must have thorough knowledge of law enforcement practices, procedures, requirements and working knowledge of administrative principles, finance, accounting and computers.

Another difference between a municipal police department and a sheriff’s office is that a sheriff may swear in a deputy. This allows that deputy to carry a badge and gun with powers of arrest for a year before attending Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET). Currently BLET is over 600 contact hours and is generally taught through the community college system. A municipality may not put a police officer on patrol with arrest powers until that officer has completed state mandated BLET. Other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies do not give an officer power of arrest until they successfully complete required training.

It is a common practice across North Carolina for sheriffs to fire and/or demote deputies who do not actively support their election. So if a deputy disagrees with a sheriff, he can lose his job for political reasons. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld this draconian practice. What other law enforcement or governmental agency can be so unreasonable in dealing with employees without due process?

It is time for North Carolina counties to establish county police departments, or at the least give deputies some form of civil service job protection and a grievance procedure overseen by neutral and objective persons. Sheriffs should have to abide by the same personnel regulations as other law enforcement agencies.

Many deputies loyal to the criminal justice system have had their careers cut short because of politics. Loyalty to the sheriff is seen as more important than loyalty to the criminal justice system and the public. When sheriffs demote or fire well trained and experienced officers, the taxpayers lose as well as the officers.

Another problem with the office of sheriff is the cost of the political campaign. The public should be concerned that sheriffs, unlike police chiefs or other law enforcement officials, become obligated to campaign contributors. The sheriff’s race is often the most expensive local race.

It hasn’t been too many years ago that the law was changed to require district attorneys to be lawyers and most counties have now done away with elected coroners in favor of medical examiners. Several counties have opted for county police. So there is precedent for counties to consider a move to county police.

(Bob Scott served as Executive Officer of the Macon County Sheriff’s Office. He has degrees in criminal justice, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned the Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate from the N.C. Sheriff’s Education and Training Standards Commission. He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

Haywood sheriff candidates

Q: Haywood County has a growing Hispanic population. How will you address language barriers in serving that population?

Hollifield: Would sign deputies up for Spanish classes at the community colleges and would employ an interpreter.

Suttles: Agrees that deputies should take Spanish classes. Also, says the department currently has translators that help officers communicate.

Allen: “I think the language barrier is a serious problem in our county. I think officers in this county should take Spanish classes, and I would promote classes for deputies at the community college.”

Ezell: Understanding the “cultural differences between where they grew up and our area,” is critical. For example, the way a question is asked can take on a different meaning according to cultural context.

Gilliland: Overcoming the language barrier is most important.

 

Q: If appointed, would you seek re-election?

Kenneth Hollifield: Yes.

Bobby Suttles: Yes.

Albert Allen: Yes. Allen said he had already planned to run for sheriff in 2010, and that his campaign had been in the works for 8 months when the position opened up earlier than expected.

Raymond Ezell: Yes.

Russ Gilliland: Yes, and like Allen, Gilliland already had a core group of people lined up to help him when he planned to run for sheriff in 2010.

 

Q: How will you fight drug problems in the county?

Hollifield: Would create a drug eradication team. He would also meet with members of a different community on different nights to collect citizen input. Also touts drug education in schools.

Suttles: Says marijuana is still the prevalent drug in Haywood County. Also said the sheriff’s office has applied for a grant to create an enforcement team of five people that could monitor I-40, a major drug route.

Allen: Working cooperatively with other agencies and groups and members of the community. With this approach, “we can beat the drug dealers.”

Ezell: Create a task force; work with surrounding counties to share information; educate citizens on signs of drug activity and educate kids in the school system about the dangers of drugs.

Gilliland: Teach drug education in schools. He would also send his deputies to the same drug and addiction school that Gilliland himself attended.

 

Q: How would you handle complaints within the sheriff’s department?

Hollifield: Encourages creation of an internal affairs committee, consisting of someone in the detention center, deputies, and detectives.

Suttles: A complaint currently travels through the chain of command, going from seargant to lieutenant to the chief deputy, then to the sheriff. “If it’s something of a serious nature, we might have an outside agency handle it.”

Allen: “If it’s something internally, I think it should be handled internally.” Also, facts of an investigation that could reflect on the department as a whole should be shared with employees of the sheriff’s department.

Ezell: Would be open to getting someone from outside the department, who has an impartial viewpoint, to conduct an investigation. “That way, it doesn’t hurt people within the department. If you gave them that investigation, it just causes problems.”

Gilliland: “Most of the time, anything that comes up is normally taken care of through the chain of command, but if it’s necessary to bring in outside counseling that’ something we could very well do.”

Haywood Sheriff candidates line up for questions from public

Five candidates vying to be the next Haywood County Sheriff appeared at a question and answer forum Saturday, Jan. 24 before a crowd of almost 100, the majority of which were members of the Haywood County Democratic Party executive committee.

The written questions posed by the audience were varied, from how each candidate would handle a crisis to methods for combating the local drug problem to why they are the best choice to succeed outgoing Sheriff Tom Alexander.

Alexander will retire from the post he’s held for 22 years on Feb. 2. Sheriffs are usually elected to office, but since Alexander still has two years left in his term, the county’s Democratic executive committee — composed of all Democratic elected officials, plus party chairs and vice chairs from each of the 31 Haywood precincts — must appoint a replacement. The committee will vote Feb. 7 for a new sheriff, and county commissioners must approve the choice.

Here’s a sampling of the questions asked, along with the candidates’ answers:

Q: What do you think the personality of the sheriff should reflect?

Hollifield: A sheriff must be approachable. “Make yourself available and always carry yourself in a professional way.”

Suttles: A sheriff should be honest and fair, and someone that people know they can always come in and talk to.

Allen: “First of all, the sheriff needs to have a very positive attitude.”

Ezell: Integrity is the most important trait. “That is paramount.” The sheriff also needs to be an effective communicator who can easily talk to people.

Gilliland: “You have to have a heart for service, and you have to have a heart for the people of Haywood County.” Dedication and approachability are also important. “I’m dedicated to this county — I have never wanted to leave and go somewhere else.”

Q: What makes you the best candidate?

Hollifield: “Even though I’ve been out of law enforcement for quite some time, I have not forgotten the professionalism. The law applies to every person, and I will make sure that the laws are enforced.” He also promises to crack down on underage drinking in particular.

Suttles: Experience — he’s had 35 years of law enforcement experience, including 15 years in the sheriff’s department. He’s most familiar with the inner workings of the sheriff’s office. “I’ve trained under Sheriff Tom, and he’s run a good ship.”

Allen: Law enforcement experience in different areas — he’s worked across various judicial districts, and worked with officers to prepare cases for trial.

Ezell: His experience as a polygraph examiner and inspector for the U.S. Postal Service has given him “broad perspective dealing not only with state agencies, but federal agencies and law enforcement; also makes me appreciate the conditions we have to operate within and gives me an appreciation of what citizens expect from the sheriff’s department.”

Gilliland: He has diversified work experience, from law enforcement to business, which is critical for a sheriff, who must “wear many hats.”

Q: How would you handle budget concerns with the county commissioners?

Hollifield: “What I would attempt to do is cut out excess spending.” He’ll also request the State Bureau of Investigation conduct an audit to make sure everything is in place.

Suttles: Said the current sheriff’s department budget is $3.7 million, more than half of which goes toward running the county’s jail. “We’ve already cut back some, but I know they’re going to ask for another cut. We don’t want to lay off anybody. We’ll take a look at it, and I’m sure we’ll find a way to cut it back somewhere.”

Allen: Would maintain an open dialogue with the county manager.

Ezell: Would break the budget down item by item. “Then, identify those areas that are completely critical. Those are the things that can’t be cut. Then you look at what’s left, and you try to make it as cost effective as you possibly can.”

Gilliland: Would seek out federal and state grants to ease budget constraints.

Sheriff candidates:

• Raymond Ezell — Retired polygraph examiner for U.S. Postal Service; former criminal investigator for postal service, B.S. in Criminology

• Ken Hollifield — Former highway patrolman and sheriff’s deputy; currently a truck driver

• Bobby Suttles — Current chief deputy and 14-year employee of sheriff’s department; former Waynesville police officer

• Albert Allen — Former highway patrolman; currently chief of security at Haywood Regional Medical Center

• Russell Gilliland — Current Maggie Valley police officer; formerly owner/operator of HVAC Electrical Company

Incident heightens tensions between county, sheriff

Allegations that the Swain County Sheriff’s Department mishandled the capture of an escaped inmate earlier this month has strained the already-tense relationship between county officials and Sheriff Curtis Cochran.

Jody Smallwood, 37, escaped from a holding room in the Swain County courthouse Jan. 5. The seven-hour search for Smallwood, involving both county and Bryson City law enforcement, ended with a high-speed chase down U.S. 74.

When Smallwood made a last ditch effort to elude capture at the end of the chase, Cochran says he drew his weapon and fired two shots at the tire of the stolen van Smallwood was driving in order to disable the vehicle. Smallwood was then Tased and apprehended, according to local media reports (Cochran wouldn’t comment on the Tasing).

But a letter received by the county, signed “A Concerned Citizen,” claims the capture of Smallwood was mishandled.

“I have reason to believe that the apprehension of an escaped inmate from the Swain County Jail ... was grossly mishandled and that excessive force was used,” the anonymous letter states.

The letter writer claims that Cochran, who has not undergone basic law enforcement training and had no law enforcement experience prior to being elected in 2006, violated policies and procedures put forth by the Swain County Sheriff’s Office by using deadly force to apprehend Smallwood, even though the situation did not present an imminent threat.

The letter also accuses law enforcement officials of unnecessarily beating and Tasing Smallwood repeatedly.

County Clerk Cindi Woodard emailed the letter on Jan. 12 to the board of county commissioners and to two media outlets — the Smoky Mountain News and The Smoky Mountain Times. Though the letter is public record, making public a complaint that reflects negatively on a county department has happened rarely in Swain County.

The county defended its decision to release the letter, saying that emails received by the county’s account are public record, and that media outlets have before requested to be informed of such complaints.

“We just did proper procedure,” said County Manager Kevin King. “It came to (Commissioner Chairman) Glenn Jones, who received it via the county email account. That made it a public document at that point in time. (Media outlets) have indicated that they want to get those letters.”

Jones said he just wanted the county to play it safe, in case the complaints materialized into something bigger.

“What if something happened and you were to come by and say, if you had this letter, why didn’t’ you send it to me?” Jones said.

Jones said he felt the letter was legitimate, although King said it was signed with a false name. King said he had already “heard rumors from other individuals about some of the stuff,” contained in the letter.

Cochran, meanwhile, says the county probably had its own motives for sending out the letter — and it wasn’t to follow protocol.

“I smell politics all over this,” he said.

The sheriff and county officials are currently at odds over a lawsuit that Cochran filed against the county. In it, Cochran, a Republican, demands a pay increase to match the salary of the former sheriff, a Democrat. The sheriff’s salary was slashed when the county did away with a practice that once served as a salary supplement, just as Cochran took office. Cochran claims partisan prejudice played a factor.

But when King was asked whether the lawsuit played a part in the county’s decision to send out a letter that reflected negatively on the sheriff, his answer was, “absolutely not.”

As far as looking further into complaints alleged in the letter, county officials say it’s not their responsibility to oversee the sheriff’s department.

“He’s an elected official, and he’s supposed to take care of his own department,” said Jones.

King agreed.

“We’re not a watchdog of the sheriff — the people are,” King said. “If he’s done wrongdoing, other people would have to bring a suit against the county. We have no control over what the sheriff does.”

 

Probing the escape

The sheriff’s department has launched an investigation — but not into what happened when Smallwood was apprehended.

“The only thing we’re investigating is how he got out of the holding cell,” said Cochran. “We don’t have an investigation on nothing else.”

There is no statewide policy in place that mandates an investigation when shots are fired. Instead, it’s up to the individual law enforcement agencies.

It may be impossible to ever prove whether Smallwood’s apprehension was handled correctly. But the writer of the anonymous letter received by the county claims that the incident could have gone more smoothly if Cochran, who fired the gun, had undergone basic law enforcement training.

“Maybe this is the kind of law enforcement you have when you give an untrained man a badge and a gun,” it states.

Cochran is quick to defend his lack of experience, and says voters have put their trust in him for a reason.

“I was qualified by the people of Swain County in November of 2006 to be sheriff,” he said.

Dems meet to pick Sheriff Alexander’s successor

Democratic officials in Haywood County are gearing up to choose a successor to outgoing Haywood County Sheriff Tom Alexander, who will retire from his post of more than 22 years on Feb. 2.

Sheriffs are usually elected to office, but since Alexander still has two years left in his term, the county’s Democratic Executive Committee must appoint a replacement.

Alexander said he had considered retiring before winning his sixth term in 2006, but wanted to stay on through the completion of the county’s law enforcement and justice center.

The committee is taking resumes for the sheriff post until 5 p.m. on Jan. 21.

Haywood County Democratic Party Chairman Bill Jones said he’s already been contacted by several people who want the sheriff position, but was unsure as of press time how many candidates will vie for the spot (a list of candidates will be available on the Smoky Mountain News Web site after the resume deadline).

“I’ve been contacted by several individuals, but there’s a big difference between contacting and actually doing it,” he said. “We know there will be more than one or two. It’s going to be very interesting.”

The candidates will appear at a forum from 1 to 3 p.m. the following Saturday, Jan. 24, where they’ll state their case for why they should be the next sheriff and field questions from the Democratic Executive Committee.

The executive committee is comprised of an assortment of county Democrats. The group includes all Democratic elected officials — everyone from mayors to the tax collector to the register of deeds — plus the party’s chairs and vice chairs from each of the 31 precincts.

Jones said the committee is taking the responsibility of selecting a new sheriff very seriously.

“We’re charged with electing a person who is capable and qualified of being sheriff for all the citizens of Haywood County,” Jones said. “This is a heavy responsibility, and not something to be taken lightly. We look at it with a heavy sense of duty.”

The executive committee will vote for a sheriff at its Feb. 7 meeting. A candidate must receive 50 percent of the votes plus one additional vote to win election. The committee will hold as many votes as needed until one candidate emerges with the majority.

The executive committee will recommend the winning candidate to the Haywood County Board of Commissioners. If commissioners take action and approve the choice at their next possible meeting, the county could have a new sheriff in place as early as Feb. 16.

Chief Deputy Bobby Suttles, the sheriff’s office second in command, will take the helm of the department in the interim between Alexander’s retirement and the selection of a new sheriff.

Alexander’s retirement comes amid allegations that he may be involved in the video poker investigation that has already sent former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford to prison. A witness during Medford’s trial mentioned the Haywood County sheriff being paid off, and at least two subpoenas have been issued for information about Alexander and the sheriff’s department. No charges have been filed.

Meal deal at Swain jail worth as much as $100,000 annually, new sheriff says

Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran has estimated how much his predecessor might have made under the table feeding jail inmates: the figure comes in well over $100,000 a year.

Motive questioned in budget cut

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

A 3 to 1 vote by the Swain County Board of Commissioners last week will effectively reduce the salary of the newly elected sheriff.

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