Beaufort County Sheriff declines invitation to appear before commissioners in Monday meeting

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Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (WNCT photo)

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Beaufort County Sheriff Ernie Coleman said he would not appear before the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners when they meet Monday night.

The monthly commissioners meeting was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the boardroom. An invitation to attend the meeting was sent by Katie M. Masher, Clerk to the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, in reference to the presentation of the office’s budget for the 2021-22 calendar year.

The invitation was issued on April 26 at 11:28 a.m., according to an email from Coleman, which he shared with members of the media. Coleman said other members of his department will present the details instead of him.

Below is the invitation email.

“The Board of Commissioners would like to extend an invitation for you to appear during their Monday, May 3, 2021 meeting being held at 5:30 PM in the boardroom located at 136 W. 2nd St, Washington, NC to address any issues concerning the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. Please contact me if you would like to appear and I will place you on the agenda. Thank you.”

Coleman responded to the request Monday afternoon in an email. He said, “after personally reviewing the last 6 months of televised meetings online I have decided not to subject the integrity of myself or my Office to such a hostile narcissistic environment.”

There has been tension between the sheriff’s office and Beaufort County commissioners over the possibility of adding another law enforcement organization for the county. The county’s Police Force Committee met last Thursday, one of several that have been held. Part of the discussion at last week’s meeting centered around a trip to Gaston County, where there’s a police force similar to the one commissioners are researching. That trip will take place in July.

Below is Coleman’s full statement:

“Thank you for the open invitation to appear before the commissioners and ‘address any issues concerning the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office’. Which are many. After personally reviewing the last 6 months of televised meetings online I have decided not to subject the integrity of myself or my Office to such a hostile narcissistic environment. Commissioner (Hood) Richardson continues his monthly slander of my Office with many unsubstantiated terms such as: corrupt, mismanagement, and cowards just to name a few. This is extremely unprofessional and not the way to run county business. I will continue to abide by State Law. I have assigned Chief Deputy Charlie Rose and the Director of Administrative Services, Callie Harris to assemble and present our budget to the County Manager. Chief Rose will attend the budget workshops to advocate for the Office of Sheriff and I will use whatever resources that are allocated to my Office to continue to protect the citizens of the County with or without your financial support as I am mandated to do by The State Constitution and State Law. More to come. Sincerely, Ernie Coleman” 

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