Sheriff appointment controversy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Lowndes County residents react

By Regina Grayson

Lowndes County Signal

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HAYNEVILLE &045; The appointment of Charlie &8220;Chip&8221; Williams as sheriff of Lowndes County by Gov. Bob Riley has brought about much controversy in just the last three days.

Riley appointed Williams on Monday to finish the three and a half-year term of the late Sheriff Willie Vaughner.

However, the Lowndes County Commission sent a letter to the governor soon after Vaughner’s funeral requesting that Chief Deputy John &8220;Big John&8221; Williams be put in the post.

Now, many Lowndes County residents are up in arms about the choice, saying that John Williams has been with the sheriff’s office for the last 28 years, and, therefore, everyone knows and is familiar with him.

On Wednesday morning, a news conference was held on the steps of the Lowndes County Courthouse in Hayneville where many people and some of the commissioners spoke out against the appointment of Chip Williams.

Chip Williams ran against Vaughner for Lowndes County sheriff in the 2006 year’s election, but lost.

&8220;Chief Deputy (John) Williams has been working on the force for almost 30 years and I thought it was more than fair that he get a shot at the position,&8221; Charlie King, chairman of the Lowndes County Commission, said in an interview earlier this week. &8220;The majority of the people wanted John to have an opportunity to prove himself, and the commissioners supported John.

Tara Hutchison, press secretary for the officer of the governor, said the sheriff’s position was handled like any other appointment by the governor.

Four candidates submitted resumes for the position.

The Selma Times-Journal Editor Tammy Leytham contributed to this report.