Controversy continues as two call themselves Anson County sheriff
Two men have been sworn as Anson County Sheriff, courts likely to settle dispute
ANSON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - There are two people calling themselves sheriff in Anson County.
After a series of questionable meetings and outrage from residents, the newly-elected Anson County commissioners held their first meeting Tuesday night.
That meeting came one night after a hastily called meeting that included two outgoing commissioners. In that meeting it was decided that Wadesboro Police Sgt. Gerald Cannon would be the new sheriff.
“The sitting board at that time elected Gerald Cannon to be the sheriff and he was sworn in a little later that afternoon,” said county manager Leonard Sossoman.
The top job has been filled by former Anson County Chief Deputy Scott Howell since former Sheriff Landric Reid died in September. It was too late to replace his name on the ballot and, technically, Reid was re-elected.
On Tuesday night the newly elected commissioners voted to appoint Howell as the sheriff.
“They were reminded that they did not have the authority to unwind or undo that previous board’s vote, but once you come out you could vote to appoint someone else,” Sossoman added.
That’s when commissioners voted Howell in as the Sheriff.
Commissioners heard from dozens of angry residents Tuesday night who questioned the process that led to one man being appointed in a meeting Monday and a different man being voted in Tuesday.
“Illegal. Immoral. You broke your oath of office,” one man said. “I no longer consider the people that were involved in last Thursday’s meeting and last night’s meeting, you are no longer my commissioners.”
“I’m concerned when we are more concerned about personal preference rather than the voice of the people,” another man said.
The commissioners voted to appoint Howell to the job for the next four years. The county attorney, though, said the dispute over who is actually sheriff will likely have to be settled in court.
A judge denied the injunction being sought by Cannon, meaning that Howell will be sworn in at some point and will serve as sheriff until the court sorts the matter out.
Sossoman says the main thing he wants residents to know right now is that if they need help, deputies will respond.
“Just know that the deputies are on the job,” Sossoman said. ”They’re protecting the safety, health, lives of the citizens of Anson County. It’s all functioning and it’s going to take a little time for it to be sorted out from a legal perspective, but their safety right now is not in jeopardy, the sheriff’s office is open and Anson County is open for business.”
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