Guilford County Commissioner Pat Tillman had an interesting question at a recent work session of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners where the board was discussing several important Sheriff’s Department issues, such as officer pay and the $27 million construction contract to build a new administrative headquarters for the department.
During the discussion, Tillman asked, “Where’s the Sheriff?,” and added that, since he’s been a commissioner, Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers hasn’t been there to answer questions, address the board or provide perspective that only the sheriff can provide.
Tillman later elaborated on his remarks.
“I’ve been on the board for 14 months and we’ve talked about [for the Sheriff’s Department] an airplane, tasers, the new headquarters and many other issues,” and Tillman added that Rogers doesn’t address the board on those issues or even show up for the discussion most of the time.
For instance, Rogers wasn’t at the Thursday, Feb. 1 work session when the Board of Commissioners decided to approve a giant contract for the Sheriff’s Department’s new headquarters.
Tillman acknowledged that the department does send very well-informed staff to make presentations and answer questions from the board, however, he said he would often like to hear from the man who’s running the show.
He said critical issues like officer pay, recruitment and retention, and major projects get discussed without Rogers in the room.
“I think it’s important that the high sheriff, elected by the people, be there when we talk about these priorities like personnel retention, filling vacancies and other matters. I know it’s important to him, and I think it would be nice to hear from him on these issues sometimes.”
Tillman also said that, in the corporate world, a CEO would almost never be a no-show at a meeting when key matters facing the company were under discussion.
Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said, after being told of Tillman’s remarks, that the sheriff has more important matters to attend to when presentations to the Board of Commissioners can be addressed by knowledgeable officers with a direct connection to a project or issue.
“The sheriff is very busy,” Alston said. “He’s out there protecting the people and out on patrol. He’s got a lot better things to do than sit in a meeting for a couple of hours.”