Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

Demotions, promotions planned for Richmond County Sheriff's Office after Richard Roundtree takes office

  • Follow City Ink

A top administrator in the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is targeted for demotion after Sheriff-elect Richard Roundtree takes office in January.



Roundtree notified Col. Gary Powell via e-mail that he will be reduced to the rank of captain.

Powell, who has been with the sheriff’s office for 35 years, said he has no problem with the demotion.

“I’ve always known my job is a political appointment,” he said. “I’m glad to have a job.”

He stands to lose as much as $20,000 a year in pay.

Lt. Robert Partain in the narcotics division is said to be the new colonel, and Bill Probus, a deputy at the training range, is rumored to be promoted to captain.

Word is also out that Lewis Blanchard, who aligned himself with Round­tree after he defeated Capt. Scott Peebles in a Democratic primary runoff, will be hired and given the rank of captain. Some folks predict he’ll be in charge of a new volunteer deputy program.

Blanchard and Round­tree are so cozy that they went to Las Vegas together with several others the weekend after Thanksgiv­ing. If Roundtree was gambling, you have to wonder how he could afford it, seeing as how he owed federal tax liens that were paid off only months before qualifying. He didn’t pay a state tax lien until after he qualified.

Peebles – who endorsed Roundtree after the runoff and soured a lot of people who had supported him with big bucks and big parties – is expected to remain as captain in criminal investigations.

ANOTHER FIRST AND PROBABLY NOT THE LAST: In addition to becoming Rich­mond County’s first black sheriff, Roundtree just might be Georgia’s first sheriff to hold a black-tie inaugural ball – or any ball at all. Someone suggested he might even be the first sheriff in the United States to do so.

Terry Norris, the executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, said he’d not heard of a sheriff having an inaugural ball.

“There may have been some, but I don’t know about them,” he said. “We’ve had over 200 elected sheriffs go through our training. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but generally speaking, the sheriffs aren’t so ceremonial. They are truly the blue-collar workers of the state.”

Roundtree raised a lot of eyebrows when he arrived to announce his run for sheriff in a stretch limousine with a driver wearing white gloves. Now he’s alienated some of his supporters by charging $125 per single ticket or $250 a couple to attend his ball.

One quoted in a Metro Courier newspaper article said he felt that Roundtree had turned his back on the people who worked to get him elected by pricing the tickets so high. Several people surveyed by the newspaper suggested a less costly celebration open to everyone.

But somebody’s got to pay for the limo and band.

POLITICAL PUNDITS: The results of Tuesday’s runoff between white incumbent District 1 Augusta Commissioner Matt Aitken and his black challenger, Bill Fennoy, will set the political agenda for the foreseeable future.

As everybody knows – but still obligatory to explain in case you just rode into town – a win by Fennoy would restore the black-white racial balance to 5-5 and usher in a whole new era of abstaining.

Aitken and Fennoy say they’re campaigning hard and expect to win, but we all know they both can’t.

“I feel great about it,” Aitken said. “When you look at the results of the four-way race in the general election and the diversity of the people working with me, I’m very optimistic.”

Aitken received 39.7 percent of the votes cast in the District 1 race in November to Fennoy’s 29.91 percent.

“I feel very optimistic,” Fen­noy said. “I think people are going to come out and vote and decide who they want to represent them for the next four years.”

That’s a foregone conclusion.

RUNNING MEN: The 12th Congres­sional District race in 2014 bodes to be crowded on the Republican side.

Rick Allen, who lost to Lee Anderson in a Republican primary runoff, said he’s certainly looking at running despite being $500,000 in debt from this year’s election.

“God owns everything,” he said. “I’m just a steward passing through. I knew I was going to have to put some money in. I had no idea I would have to put that much.”

Wright McLeod said he’s thinking about running again.

“Very much so,” he said.

He said he presumes that Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow has every intention of running for U.S. Senate against Republican Sax­by Chambliss or running for governor against Republican Nathan Deal. If he does, I’ll vote for him because Deal and the Georgia Board of Regents GRUed the new university and Augusta.

Anderson said he probably would run again in 2014.

“I’ll look at it toward the first of the year,” he said.

I CAN’T SEE A SINGLE STORM CLOUD IN THE SKY: But I sure can smell the rain tax.

The commission is ex­-pected to approve implementing the first stages of the tax Wednesday. Proponents claim it’s not a tax but a fee that will be set later when they figure out the size of each rooftop, parking lot and driveway and how much their owners must pay to remedy flooding and drainage problems.

Oh well, that’s what you get when you build a city on a swamp.

DéJà VU EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK: When you get old, every new person you see reminds you of somebody else you know, and everything reminds you of the past.

For example, officials broke ground for the $76.5 million education building at Georgia Health Sciences University last week. University of Georgia radio announcer Loran Smith came to town for it, and Mayor Deke Copenhaver had a video made of Smith squinting into the sun and saying how much he liked Augusta.

When my first husband, Ken Cooper, and I lived on College Station Road in Athens oh so long ago, Smith and his wife, Myrna, often came over for cookouts and would bring us frozen butterbeans from Wrights­ville. Myrna and I would ride bicycles around the neighborhood while the men drank beer and tended the fire. Loran still looks good, which is no surprise. He always did.

A more solemn event last week, which I mention only to make the point about what age does to you, involved four people getting cut outside a Broad Street bar downtown called Club Rehab – an oxymoron if I ever heard one. They said on the news that police were investigating, which reminded me of the late, great newspaper editor Archie McKay who said that to say or write, “Police are investigating” was not news.

“If the police weren’t investigating, that would be news,” he’d growl. So we had to call the sheriff again and try to wheedle a shred of news – something, anything.

Another thing that happened in Augusta last week that triggered a memory was a story about residents of Maxwell House apartments circulating a petition to stop the hourly ringing of bells at nearby Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

I might have told you about that before. I’ll have to check to see. I wouldn’t want to keep repeating the same story over and over because that’s what really old people do.

Comments (49) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
seenitB4
98477
Points
seenitB4 12/01/12 - 07:34 pm
7
2
heheh

SURPRISE SURPRISE as Gomer would say....

itsanotherday1
48409
Points
itsanotherday1 12/01/12 - 08:32 pm
17
0
"Georgia’s first sheriff to

"Georgia’s first sheriff to hold a black-tie inaugural ball – or any ball at all. Someone suggested he might even be the first sheriff in the United States to do so."

That is just so, ummm... tacky? ghetto? low class? I can't think of the right word, somebody help me out here.

Fiat_Lux
16445
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/01/12 - 08:37 pm
13
0
Shades of Ronnie

Looks like Richard Roundtree is taking a page from Ronnie Few's book. Let's hope it's just one page, limited to how to present oneself as a pompous boor as part of assuming office.

itsanotherday1
48409
Points
itsanotherday1 12/01/12 - 08:38 pm
13
0
Oh please!

"Anderson said he probably would run again in 2014."

Lee, you are a fine, respectable man; but please put politics aside; it isn't your forte'.

berryoakley
19
Points
berryoakley 12/01/12 - 09:19 pm
7
2
Yes Lee, run again

Yes Lee, run again. I am not through voting against you yet.

bclicious
770
Points
bclicious 12/01/12 - 09:53 pm
5
1
Funny thing about demotions in Georgia...

Georgia has some very odd labor laws, and I couldn't believe it until I saw it. While working for several police and sheriff's departments over the years, I noticed that some people were promoted, and some were actually demoted. Hey, things change, and people screw up.

Well, the thing that always struck me as odd was the fact that even after a person was demoted, they automatically retained their original pay. This meant that if a person was a Lieutenant earning $48,000 per year, and they were demoted to patrolman, than that person would be the highest paid patrolman ever. Isn't that weird?

Also; does Roundtree know about the Georgia labor laws regarding promotions and demotions? Let's hope that HR fills him in on this little fact.

dichotomy
37614
Points
dichotomy 12/01/12 - 10:08 pm
5
0
Rain TAX.

" how much their owners must pay to remedy flooding and drainage problems."

In the case of South Richmond County I think you mean how much we will have to pay to remedy flooding and drainage in other parts of the county that ACTUALLY have a stormwater system. After all this is not about our ditches, it's about replacing pipes DOWNTOWN and maybe one or two other "grown up" areas but NOTHING OUT HERE. They are going to put ANOTHER TAX/FEE on us that we will NEVER see the first $1 of benefit from. ALL WE WILL GET IS ANOTHER LINE ON OUR ILLEGAL PROPERTY TAX BILL.

Dr_Evil
101
Points
Dr_Evil 12/01/12 - 10:25 pm
1
0
removed

removed

dichotomy
37614
Points
dichotomy 12/01/12 - 10:34 pm
9
1
"I can't think of the right

"I can't think of the right word, somebody help me out here."

Pompous
Turgid
Bombastic

PUPPYMOMMA
1367
Points
PUPPYMOMMA 12/02/12 - 01:19 am
7
0
Pompous

That is the first word that popped into my head, dichotomy. "Ballsy" was the second.

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 12/02/12 - 06:04 am
11
0
I have a feeling no matter

I have a feeling no matter who was elected he would be taking a trip with Lewis Blanchard somewhere.

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 12/02/12 - 06:12 am
6
0
Aitken Contributions

Concerning contributions to Aitken, from another story in today's Chronicle: "The donations, including $1,500 from event promoter Lewis Blanchard, $200 from builder Rodger Giles, $1,000 each from retired banker Monty Osteen and developer Clay Boardman, and $450 from developer Braye Boardman, plus a handful of smaller contributions..."

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/02/12 - 07:10 am
9
0
Riverman1 & Others - Warned us

"Blanchard and Round­tree are so cozy
that they went to Las Vegas together.

Like I asked a few days before the Nov. election and it was flagged.
Where did Mr. Roundtree get all this $$$$ to settle his tax liens and other problems so quickly given his <$55K A-RC salary?

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/02/12 - 07:18 am
8
0
I'd be Voting for

Bill Fennoy if the Dist 1 line crossed deep enough over into my neck of Dist 8 woods.

YES I said I would vote for Bill Fennoy.
He can't do any worse and Matt Aitken has proven he can't do any better, given his Downtown Focused Wheeling and Dealing Voting Record.

There is a small chance the Downtown Power click is slowly getting broken up.

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 12/02/12 - 08:46 am
5
1
Well, yeah, I could say a lot

Well, yeah, I could say a lot about my comments about the Sheriff's race backers that were pulled back during the elections, but I'll leave it with lyrics from a Toby Keith song that you can interpret anyway you want. "How do you like me now?"

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 12/02/12 - 08:16 am
13
0
Question

What finally ticked off the feds enough to put Charles Walker in jail? Answer...his trips to Atlantic City to gamble.

AGA2424
12
Points
AGA2424 12/02/12 - 09:04 am
10
0
sheriff

don't start complaining about your new sheriff now he hasn't even been sworn in off yet can't imagine what he will do when he is finally sitting in the sheriff chair. Should have voted for someone that would taken care of RICHMOND COUNTY People instead of worrying about a black tie ball for his self.Sit back and watch,you voted him in.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/02/12 - 09:43 am
12
0
My promise

I promised after the elections to judge Sheriff Roundtree on what he does and not the problems he had before.

Moving forward with NEW PROBLEMS
Before he even got sworn in to office.
The SHERIFF ELECT has taken a trip to Las Vegas with a local club operator.

Sure it has many of us wondering what happen to the sheriff that "changed" his ways and was using the Church gatherings to help with his election.

Legitimate Question Include
Who paid for the trip?
How much gambling was done.
How was the gambling paid for?
Was it Future "Friends" or the proceeds from a $$$ Black-Tie affair?

These are all legitimate questions that ANY Sheriff would have to answer, not a just Sheriff-Elect Roundtree.

Will we get answers is the last question?

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 12/02/12 - 09:52 am
5
1
Taken from Sheriff Elect's Facebook Page
Unpublished

Good Morning All, Again, thank you for all of your prayers and well wishes. While I will be out of town for two more weeks in Sheriff-Elect school, I wanted to advise you of some upcoming events. First, I will be Sworn Into Office on Thursday December 20th at 10:00AM at the New Courthouse. It is open to the public but as you know seating will be limited. Following the ceremony, there wil
l be a FREE reception luncheon at Beulah Gove Baptist Church Banquet Hall from 11-1:30.

Secondly, on Friday January 4th we will have an Inaugural Charity Gala @ the Legends Club on Washington Rd. This will be a formal black tie event (so you won't be able to outdress the event. Lol) The event will celebrate this historic election as well as raise money for several local charities to include, The Augusta Partnership for Children, Wounded Warriors, Safe Holmes of Augusta and Easter Seals to name a few. Elected Officials, Cocktails, Dinner, Live Music, Live Auction and Reaffirmation of the Oath of Office. Tickets are $150. Per individual or $250. Per couple. I understand that there has been some criticism by some local media regarding the ticket price.... but this is a once in a lifetime event and should be celebrated by ALL of Augusta. Tickets can be purchased on- line starting today via my website (Roundtreeforsheriff.com) and hard copies will be available starting next week. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thankgiving and I hope to see you all soon.

IMO, This is TOOOOOOO MUCH. Too much $ and attention.

Austin Rhodes
3002
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/02/12 - 10:08 am
14
1
Do you guys need to be reminded...

...how these ticketed event things go, again? The tickets are distributed to individuals who then turn in the money...and most of the tickets are given away to friends and supporters free of charge...or greatly reduced. That way one or several rich folks are basically throwing the event, and covering costs, all so it does not show up as a HUGE contribution on election paperwork. Oldest money laundering trick in the book. They all do it.

Kinda like someone can go to Vegas and have 100k show up in their bank account and tell the tax people he won it in a high stakes private poker game. Legal in Vegas...but not in Augusta.

And so it begins...

Austin Rhodes
3002
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/02/12 - 10:17 am
8
1
Oh...and give Walker credit...

Charles Walker was a lot of things...but he was also discreet. No one, and I mean NO ONE in local politics or media had a clue the dude was such a serious gambler. Those trips started out as "account enhancers" as the retired Feds told me on my show. (see above). But old CW actually took a shine to playing the games and actually betting. Very quiet about all of it...his own family did not know the extent of it.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 12/02/12 - 10:19 am
5
1
Yuuup
Unpublished

^ Agree

Bacon Grease
334
Points
Bacon Grease 12/02/12 - 11:14 am
5
0
Third world country dictator.

All hail the Conqueror of Richmond County: "Richard Roundtree." His self-bestowed title ultimately will become: "His Excellency”.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/02/12 - 11:50 am
5
0
How can downtown justify charging a Storm Drain / Rain Tax to

the 1/3 of A-RC that have NO storm drains?
These property Owners will never see a underground drainage system that goes somewhere, other than their yards or ditches in the next 50 years?

Sounds like the next lawyer in line up will have an easy case against A-RC.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/02/12 - 12:29 pm
6
0
Vegas Gambiling

There are some things politicians learned the hard way over the years. Like Never claiming to be lucky enough to of won Large $$,$$$ amounts in Vegas, in order to cover up "Donations". The Internal Revenue Service requires all casinos to issue W-2G if they win over a certain amount. The W2G (gamblin winings) shows the amount won, when and where they won it and the amount of tax that was withheld.

That does not mean Power brokers can't fund Vegas trips, booze, women and donate $$$$ to allow special people to gamble and keep any winnings. Kind of like a $100K Private thank you and you owe us junket

Black Tie dinners
on the other hand, these don't have the same easily obtainable and traceable audit trails. An like Austin said, mass ticket purchases by certain "donors" can easily mask $$$,$$$ for future "Special Favors".

This can all be put to bed, IF Sheriff Roundtree releases his official 2012 filed Tax Returns later in 2013. Like what was repeatedly demanded of Mitt Romney during the 2012 election by Democrats.

Just My Opinion
6294
Points
Just My Opinion 12/02/12 - 12:39 pm
5
0
Austin, I'd like to add

Austin, I'd like to add alittle something to your comment about Charles Walker and his dealings. A long time ago, I met a lady, through work, that used to be Charles Walker's personal secretary. She said she knew EVERYTHING going on about Charles Walker...she knew where money was coming in from and where it went. She said she felt the handwriting was on the wall and that a FBI investigation would be coming some day, so she quit. She said she didn't quit so much about his dealings...even though she knew they were nefarious...but because she knew that Walker would somehow implicate her and have her cast as the criminal. Sounds like she got out just in time. I really hope Roundtree's future will be a good one...with the emphasis on being good!

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 12/02/12 - 01:22 pm
5
0
Personally I think the whole

Personally I think the whole inauguration ball thing is waaay over the top. There is a job to do, has anyone forgot about that?

Fiat_Lux
16445
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/02/12 - 02:00 pm
8
0
Roundtree would be a lot better off

having a big bash barbeque for $10 a head at Julian Smith Casino, and have it run for 3 days like any other festival event in Augusta. That might attract a very large and very broad-based response. He could glad-hand people from every social demographic of this county and might even make more money.

However, I don't believe this person actually is interested in the people of Richmond County--any of them--so much as in spiking the football with a few gratuitous pelvic thrusts added for effect.

AutumnLeaves
10367
Points
AutumnLeaves 12/02/12 - 02:22 pm
8
0
Las Vegas

Some people actually believe the myth that "What happens in Vegas; stays in Vegas", only to find out eventually that is not true, to their shame. It is not a very smart choice of vacations for a professional who is supposed to be cleaning up his reputation, in ANY profession, but a recently elected sheriff??? What ever happened to Law Enforcement Officials avoiding anything that even gave an APPEARANCE of impropriety? I guess Roundtree is just proving his naysayers right, time and time again, as evidenced in the article above. Good grief.

rebellious
22034
Points
rebellious 12/02/12 - 03:07 pm
6
1
Strike from Webster's Dictionary

the word unbelievable. Since 2008 when Obama was elected, I have seen so many things happen which I would normally describe as UNBELIEVABLE. I have stopped using that word as it has no relevance anymore. So an Inaugural Ball, sure why not? American Voters voting for the worst performing President ever, sure, why not? Augustan's voting themselves tax increases with decreased benefit (TSPLOST), sure why not?
So when I crack the fold on the AC these days, it is simply to see what the American people have done yesterday to top thier actions the day before. I just shake my head in awe of the stupidity, gall and ridiculousness of today's society.

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

Stormwater fee to fund Columbia County repairs

Columbia County is set to invest an additional $600,000 in its aging stormwater system next year, with the hope that more money and manpower will result in half as many repair orders and fewer ...
Search Augusta jobs