Local News

Franklin commissioners vote against special sheriff election

Posted February 21, 2011 8:24 p.m. EST
Updated February 21, 2011 10:38 p.m. EST

— Franklin County commissioners voted 4-3 against holding a special election for sheriff after Pat Green resigned abruptly in January, a day before WRAL News learned of a state investigation into missing funds at the sheriff's office.

Democrats have the majority on the commission, and board members voted along party lines.

Commissioner Don Lancaster was in favor of a special election.

"I think the right thing to do is... let the voters decide who the new sheriff will be in Franklin County," he said.

But Democrats maintained that state law requires a sheriff to be appointed under these circumstances.

Franklin County resident Ray Alexander urged commissioners to appoint a replacement, despite their previous statements that they'll hold off on an appointment until the investigation is complete.

"There's precedent for you to appoint a sheriff," Alexander said. "You can do that. We've given you that authority. We have trusted you do that."

On Sunday, county officials called an emergency meeting to discuss new developments in the ongoing State Bureau of Investigation probe.

Green cited health and personal matters in his resignation, but WRAL News discovered that a routine audit of the sheriff's office uncovered missing money. An attorney for the sheriff's office said earlier this month that the money was from a county fund earmarked for undercover police work. 

Chief Deputy Elliott Pinnell is currently overseeing operations at the sheriff's office on an interim basis.