If you want to post about law suits of the past; go back and take a look back in 1988 what the current sheriff's (former) mother-in-law did to our beloved Mother Bladen. It was finally settled by a capitulation on the part of the then county commissioner board and has been costing our county ever since with an oversized commission board.
Also take a look at the voting figures for the November election. It is true that Mr. Benston is the new sheriff, but how did he get there?
In the spring primary he ran against a man from BlADENBORO who by his running was saying "I can operate the sheriff's dept. better than my opponents". He lost miserably to the two front runners. One still has to wonder WHY he ran for sheriff?
His running took enough votes away from the top vote getter so that Mr. Benston could call for a run off. Remember again, why did the man from Bladenboro run in the first place? THEN OF ALL THINGS, Mr. Benston and his protege' (the interim sheriff) hire this man (WHO HAS JUST SAID I CAN RUN THIS DEPT. BETTER THAN YOU CAN) as a deputy. Again, why did this new deputy run for sheriff in the first place? If he had not run, Prentis Benston would not be the current sheriff of Bladen County.
Now to the voting totals. Anyone can access them through the links of Bladenonline.
Straight party votes
5844 voters cast votes specifically for Mr. Ward. Only 1999 voters cast votes specifically for Mr. Benston.
You see, the BCIA moved into the picture with its premarked ballots back in the primary runoff and the general election with poll workers from as far away as New York. Guess who use to be vice-president of BCIA? You guessed right, Mr. Benston until he resigned. Even with the total votes Mr. Benston received 6398, he only won won by 554 votes over Mr. Ward. Republicans and Liberterians cast 698 straight party votes and one would think that most of the Republican straight party voters thought they were voting for Mr. Ward for sheriff when in reality they were voting for no one for sheriff. Neither were the 101 straight party voting Liberterians voting for any one for sheriff.
Folks often make comments about what message they think the voters were sending to our elected officals in the election results. Mandates, landslide wins, etc. I think the Democrats reasonably got the message from the voters in the November election; the US House changed from Democrat to Republican as did both houses of our state. Here in Bladen County, it is as plain as the nose on ones face; WE ARE FEED UP WITH THE GOOD OLE BOY POLITICS AS USAUAL-WE ARE FED UP WITH THE WAY THE SHERIFF IS GIVEN UNLIMITED UNRESTRAINED RIGHTS TO FIRE A DEPUTY JUST BECAUSE OF THE "WAY HE PART HIS HAIR", THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN, THE WAY HE SMILES, HIS RIGHT TO SPEAK HIS MIND ABOUT OPENESS IN COUNTY GOVERNMENT, OR ANY ONE OF ANOTHER 100,000 FLIMSY EXCUSES.
Doesn't look like it did much good and Mr. Benston the voters who voted specifically for Mr. Ward (5844 of them) were saying on almost a three to one ratio that they want it stopped. Now we get the news about Sgt. Edwards firing; and you have used the same old methods that have been used in the past. When the voters less than two months ago told you and all elected officials we are sick and tired of politics as usual. You had a wonderful opportunity to bring our sheriff's dept. into the 21 century but you have reverted back to business as usual with the way you handled Sgt. Edwards situation.
If I make no mistake, Sg. Edwards makes 6 that have chosen to "retire" or have been fired "excuse me, 'his services were no longer needed' since you won the election. There is still something dreadfully wrong in our sheriff's dept. You are the leader. Deputies have to be led not dragged about or pushed. When will you start leading like a leader in the 21 century? Bladen County people put out of work by you and former sheriffs and people from Cumberland County hired in their place. That is what has been wrong with the sheriffs powers and it is still what is wrong today. If you were not able to lead Sgt. Edwards to being an even better deputy under your command, then you should take your old protege's advice about how he could be taken out of the office back in July when he had his confrontation with the county commisiioners. It is your command; not BCIA's, not Earl Storms, not Steve Bunns, not Herman Dunns, not K. Rodney Hesters; and finally remember, it is under your command but it is still OUR (citizens of Bladen County) sheriff's department.
Today is the first day of the year 2011, Happy New Year to you and your entire staff. Obviously, we(voters) do not agree with what you have done to Sgt. Edwards. We will let you know that in 2013, unless you take advantage of what Mr. Storms stated back in July.
TO THE VOTERS OF BLADEN COUNTY:
We have a new legislature and a new DA:
There are some drastic changes that need to be made to the General Statutes of our state that relate to the sheriffs departments and voting:
#1. No sheriff should be allowed by himself to take any deputies job. At a very minimum, a firing of a deputy should have to be signed off on by the county manager. In fact, the county manager should be involved in not only the firing of any deputy but also the hiring of said deputies to make sure due process is used.
#2. Premarked ballots should not be allowed inside the voting enclosure.
#3. Straight party voting should be outlawed. And for sure trying to "vote twice or three times to just check the system" should be prosecuted to the upmost.
#4. There are countless others that I'm sure our newly elected Senator Wesley Meredith and our Representative Mr. William Brisson will help us get changed. Every time we see these two men or talk with them on the phone, it should be expressed to them that we want these 100 year old statutes updated into the 21 century.
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