Setting the record straight

Published 7:45 am Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Your recent article about the Sheriff’s deficit, with former Sheriff Crowe’s picture fitted nicely in the center of the misdeeds, was interesting. But you showed the wrong picture.

When Mr. Crowe took office, I was right alongside him, and we inherited this same entanglement with very few written records. The $1,000,000 FEMA loan had been made right after Katrina and had been well-spent by the time we got there in 2008. We did not ignore the debt, though we could obviously not pay it, and Sen. Landrieu helped us by getting an extension until 2016 and is working trying to get it forgiven. The present sheriff may not even have to bother with it. Don’t pass a new tax because of that.

As far as the “frozen” grant money is concerned, those funds ordinarily come in installments. The Feds require detailed accounting and timely reporting on each installment. We made our office available to the incoming administration and Chief Civil Deputy Mechelle Galloway worked hand-in-hand with members of the new administration. The reports were up-to-date when we left office and procedures were explained to he new administration.

Regarding mailbox deputies, the only man Sheriff Crowe was paying who wasn’t wearing a uniform was an undercover informant who was worth every nickel he got. Anyone who thinks you can fight crime in this drug-influenced society without some off-the-record information might as well be whistling “Dixie.”

In our last audit meeting, CPA Robert Neilson stated “we” had made up a $1,000,000 deficit and our “books” looked clean and even congratulated us for doing a “very good job.”

The FEMA obligation was passed on to the next administration as it had been passed on to our administration.

We had to borrow $1,000,000 when we took office and with the $1,200,000 FEMA debt, we were in the hole $2,200,000 just like the current sheriff.

I’m not mad at anybody, and I doubt Bobby is — that’s not his way. For the sake of the good people of Washington Parish, I wish our new sheriff every success, but in fairness to Sheriff Crowe, his family and administration, the record needed to be set straight.

— Scott Blair