The Alabama Ethics Commission will not investigate DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris, at least not until after the General Election.

The news came in a letter to Harris on Wednesday from the Ethics Commission.

"Based on the fact this complaint was file within 45 days of the election, it is not being accepted at the present time, and is being returned to the individual filing the complaint [Sid Holcomb]," said Ethics Commission General Counsel Hugh Evans. "If, after the election, they choose to re-file the complaint, it will be looked at, and you will be notified."

Commission President Sid Holcomb received a letter from Evans saying Holcomb was told he could not file the complaint within 45 days of an election.

"On September 22, I confirmed that we received your September 21 complaint against Sheriff Jimmy Harris of DeKalb County," Evans said in the letter. "Jim Sumner, our director, told you that we would not be used for political purposes, and that we had a 45-day rule before elections, in which time we would not accept a complaint.

"This came to my attention when I saw on al.com that you had given both your complaint and my letter to the press. It is hard to imagine this complaint was filed for any purposes other than to harm the sheriff's re-election campaign."

On Tuesday, Holcomb said he filed the complaint Sept. 21 after a commission meeting. During that meeting, a DeKalb County citizen and sheriff's candidate Lamar Bray supporter presented allegations that Harris used the sheriff's official website to host re-election campaign pages.

Holcomb said in his 21 years of experience, he has never had to deal with such an issue regarding the sheriff's website and sought counsel from Sumner.

"I called the Ethics Commission for advice and talked to Mr. Sumner, told him the situation, and I asked him what to do and he told me to send the information to him," Holcomb said.

Holcomb said in a response letter to Evans that he did not recall being told there was a 45-day rule.

"I do not recall Mr. Sumner notifying me about a 45-day rule; however, I now understand that the claim was submitted 42 days prior to the election, instead of 45 and cannot be accepted at this time," Holcomb said in a return letter. "It will be filed again following the election, as you have advised."

Holcomb went onto say he felt he was doing his job by filing a complaint within 10 days of notification of a possible ethics violation, according to state law.

"I do take exception to your claim of political motivation, as I was merely trying to comply with the law," Holcomb said in the letter. "My concern was that Code Section 36-25-17 requires a public official to report a possible ethics violation within 10 days of notification. This complaint was brought to my attention, and I had no choice but to report it within 10 days of learning of the apparent violation as required by this code section."

Holcomb said, in his letter to Evans, "because the letters were public record, I felt I could not refuse the press' request to release them."

Harris said he too, believed the complaint filed was a political move by Holcomb.

"This morning, the Alabama Ethics Commission notified [me] that the Ethics Commission had refused to accept DeKalb County Commission President Sid Holcomb's complaint against [me]," Harris said. "The Ethics Commission recognizes that politically motivated complaints, filed shortly before elections, are inherently suspect and not worthy of consideration. The Ethics Commission obviously does not want to waste taxpayer money settling political scores. Regardless, we welcome any investigation initiated by Sid Holcomb whether by private accountants or others."

Holcomb plans to re-file the complaint following the Nov. 2 election.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(15) comments

you are kidding

Well, there you go... NOW what SID?? just another thing you are not doing for political gain?? yeah right.... Didn't anyone tell you lying is not good??

True Colors

So, in other words, it's ok to violate the campaign ethics law as long as you do it close to an election? Dang, what other time is someone going to violate it? What a farce our government is today!!

Independent

"you are kidding" Sid is not running for office and he is a Democrat so what political gain are you talking about? Sid is doing what he is required by law to report and my experience has proven him an honorable man. By the way, Jimmy Harris's campaign site was up for all to see for a long long time on the County website. Someone just took the initiative to bring it to the attention of the commission that they (We The People...) were paying for part of his re-election campaign. An oversite maybe, but I believe Jimmy Harris' out of control spending is the main problem with a budget at $2 million in the RED!

justmeplus_2

So really?? All this came up during the year of election. Has anyone saw what a GOOD job Jimmy Harris is doing?!!! I am a tax payer and people need to look at what the good he has done instead of this petty stuff. Which is all this is about. Come on people.... look at what he has done to better this county!!!

jbl003

Sid Holcomb has been on a witch hurt for several months now and when the audit didn't give him any dirt he started digging somewhere else. No luck there either. I will vote for Jimmy Harris and against everyone in the county commissioner office. At least all the drug dealers have moved out of my neighbor since Jimmy and his staff have been in charge.

jbl003

Sid Holcomb has been on a witch hurt for several months now and when the audit didn't give him any dirt he started digging somewhere else. No luck there either. I will vote for Jimmy Harris and against everyone in the county commissioner office. At least all the drug dealers have moved out of my neighbor since Jimmy and his staff have been in charge

Keepitreal

It just seems to me that the current sheriff has always had controversy following him and that is not good for the office. I don't see any major differences between the job he was doing and the job Cecil Reed did. Does that mean Reed was doing a good job? Not neccesarily. I agree with "Independent", Sid Holcolm has nothing to gain, he is not runnign for office, and he is abiding by the law as it is written. Harris has played politics from day one on the job in my opinion. I mean, who really wants to be investigated? The horse on the courthouse steps was a not cool either. I mean, this is not 1850.

Pamela Gifford

Holcolm is a Bray supporter. It is political regardless if he's running for office. It doesn't take much to see that.

Pamela Gifford

Holcolm is a Bray supporter. It is political regardless if he's running for office. It doesn't take much to see that.

Independent

First, Sid is a Democrat. Second, he is not running for re-election. What political gain are some of you speaking about? (especially those writing for The Times Journal) Third, he did his job and what he was required to to under the law in reporting the violation. Fourth, the audit did find a problem of over $250,000 that the Sheriff owes to the county. Finally, he has spent almost $ 2 million over his budget during these economic hard times. Harris has ignored his responsibilities to the people and the county commission since the beginning of his term. ( i.e. spending for his horse pen)

fpcitizen75

Explain to me exactly how a sheriff can be "over budget." His budget is set by the commission. The only money he had that was not "budgeted" to him by the commission is pistol permit money and the federal money that was not turned over to the commission. That did not amount to anywhere near $2 million. This "over budget" issue is a myth.

These "hard economic times" were made worse by the commission when they over spent $5 million on the jail during the pervious sheriff's term.

Keepitreal

Anyone can be "over budget". The budget is not real money, it is a set amount based on previous years and anticipated monetary needs for the upcoming year. If he is over the budget by any amount, it just means he spent more than what was set by the commision. Simple as that. And I think everyone is in agreement that the jail was needed. Everyone remember the tent jail in downtown FP?

county_citizen

Has anyone else thought that this county is being ran like Hazzard county..
Commisioner: Boss Sid Holcomb
Seriff: Harris P. Coltrane..

Seems to me like its about as corrupt.
I'm sure Uncle Jessie would vote them all out. Yee-Haw!!

county_citizen

Has anyone else thought that this county is being ran like Hazzard county..
Commisioner: Boss Hogg - Sid Holcomb
Seriff: Roscoe P. Coltrane - Jimmy Harris

Seems to me like its about as corrupt.
I'm sure Uncle Jessie would VOTE THEM ALL OUT.
Yee-Haw!!

county_citizen

Has anyone else thought that this county is being ran like Hazzard county..
Commisioner: Boss Hogg - Sid Holcomb
Seriff: Roscoe P. Coltrane - Jimmy Harris

Seems to me like its about as corrupt.
I'm sure Uncle Jessie would VOTE THEM ALL OUT.
Yee-Haw!!

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