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County Council votes to stop paying former sheriff salary

Colleton County will no longer be paying the salary of its former Sheriff, R. Andy Strickland.
In a unanimous vote cast during its Tuesday night meeting, Colleton County Council voted 4-0 to stop paying Strickland’s salary.
A former elected official with the county, Strickland’s salary as sheriff was paid for with county funds, and his salary was overseen by the county’s council, which is another elected leadership body.
Strickland was removed from office in late 2019 by S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, after being indicted by a state grand jury on a charge of second-degree criminal domestic violence.
The charges against 40-year-old Strickland came after he was arrested on Nov. 8th by officers with the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). He is accused of repeatedly beating his then-girlfriend, and of damaging her vehicle in an effort to prevent her from escaping. He is also accused of taking her cell phone from her so she could not call for help, according to arrest affidavits. According to arrest records, the alleged incident occurred on Nov. 7th at a Colleton County residence.
The criminal case against him is still being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
After his indictment and subsequent removal from office, state leaders and SLED officials then appointed current acting sheriff, Lt. Charles Ghent.
Ghent will remain in office for the duration of Strickland’s elected term: the office of Colleton County Sheriff will be on the ballot in the November 2020 General Election.
However, until the council’s vote to terminate his pay, Strickland was still receiving his annual sheriff’s salary, despite his removal from the office.
Colleton County Council’s 4-0 vote to stop paying the salary came after Colleton resident William Bennett spoke to council during an open, public segment of the meeting. In his speech, Bennett asked the council to stop paying Strickland’s salary.
“I have lived in Colleton County for over 86 years,” he said, according to his written letter to the council.
” … I have paid, by my records, $1 million and $8,000 to Colleton County Treasurer,” he wrote. …I am appalled and resent the idea that council would allow our ex-sheriff to sit on his behind and draw a large salary and perks, doing nothing for our county except antagonize, intimidate and divide our people.”
“I request that the council put a stop to this immediately and start proceeding to recoup the money he has received since this indictment on Nov. 7, 2019,” Bennett further stated.
Council took no action in saying Strickland will have to return any of his salary received following his indictment.
The actual investigation into Strickland and the charges against him are still active by SLED. The criminal case against Strickland will be prosecuted by the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, the chief prosecutorial agency for Colleton County.

Heather Walters (1678 Posts)