Franklin County Sheriff Claims Unlawful Seizure of His Property
Franklin County Sheriff J-D Raymond has filed a notice of claim against the county commission and the county auditor over what he describes as troubling issues that date back to 2015.
"Franklin County Auditor (Matt) Beaton and his accountants started having concerns that I was actually submitting mill receipts when conducting business as the out-of-the-office sheriff," Sheriff Raymond said. "And at that time, he was threatening to shut off my P-card and telling me it was illegal that I wasn't following per diem and those type of things."
After a series of meetings, Sheriff Raymond says the county administrator, who was representing the Board of County Commissioners at the time, ordered that no one was going to shut off anybody's business card and how the sheriff conducts his business is up to him.
"That was up to me to handle, considering that I'm the sheriff. And so, from 2015 up until recently, every time I conduct business travel, whatever cost that has occurred by the county, I do it by receipts. I don't put in per diems," Sheriff Raymond explained. "Frankly, the way I do it saves the taxpayer hundreds and hundreds of dollars every time I do business, travel or attend a meeting or those types of things. Matt Beaton didn't like it."
Now Sheriff Raymond claims an unlawful seizure of his personal property occurred when $21.47 was deducted from his paycheck. Prior to the deduction, Sheriff Raymond says the auditor’s office demanded he pay the money back because it went over per diem.
"I said I'm not going to pay out of my personal pocket $21 per diem, because here's the actual receipt. It's clear for anybody to look and see what I did on those receipts and dinners." Sheriff Raymond said.
Auditor Matt Beaton on the other hand says Sheriff Raymond used the county charge card (P-Card) and that he spent money outside of what's authorized by the policy.
"He then asserted; the policy doesn't apply to him. We said show us in the policy or show us where you have that authority, so we can consider it. That didn't materialize," Beaton said. "The process is not different for anybody. Everybody is the same under this policy."
Beaton says Sheriff Raymond was given the opportunity to rectify the situation with county commissioners as they have the power to allow the process deviate from the policy.
"He kept saying it doesn't apply to me. And so, we sent him a reminder. He laughs and (says) no more friendly reminders, doesn't apply to me. Well, it does apply to him." Beaton added. "That's why they've (commissioners) written the policy in the manner that they have, so that abuses cannot occur to the best of our ability."
According to Beaton, the P-Card is currently shut off and that Sheriff Raymond needs to go before the commission for a request to turn it back on.
"This isn't something where I'm just going to turn it back on. I don't know in the law where it says I have to turn it back on. It's a privilege," Beaton said. "It is a decision for the commission."
Sheriff Raymond countered in his notice of claim that the auditor and his sub-agents believe they can arbitrarily change the rules and attempt to fit his business-related expenses into a box that is most convenient for them.
He cites damages of $24,999 for unlawful seizure and deprivation of civil rights.