In a phone conversation with the Rhino Times on Monday, July 15, Max Benbassat, the former spokesperson for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, offered some details as to why he chose to step down from that job – namely, he didn’t want to go through extensive jail guard training since he had no intention of being one.
Benbassat, who was hired in early 2019 and given the duties of a public information officer (PIO) for the Sheriff’s Department, was actually classified as a detention officer the whole time since there was no PIO position in the budget for the department. While that worked for a while, the county was going to require him to actually go through detention officer training since that’s how he was classified. Benbassat said he had no interest in enduring what would have been 30 days of training for an occupation that he had no interest in.
“I was given an ultimatum, either take courses to be certified as a detention officer or leave,” he wrote in an email. “I offered to stay part time but that is not possible according to leadership. The timing is suspicious, but I could care less as I have plans and don’t want to create issues for Sheriff Rogers…I respect our Sheriff and wish him the best, looking forward to helping him campaign in the future if needed.”
Benbassat said in a phone interview on Monday that, even if he completed the jail guard training, he wouldn’t have made more than the $43,000 he was making in his job at the department.
Benbassat wrote in an email, “I was making 43k for a job that requires media experience, which I have [in] addition to website development expertise. Most PIOs make 65k+ and most Sheriff’s offices have PIOs.”