Board rejects jail-order motion

Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners during its meeting Monday rejected a motion to ask Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons Jr. to dissolve his order regarding a new jail in the county.

Commissioner Hood Richardson made the motion, but it was defeated. Voting against it were board Chairman Jerry Langley and commissioners Al Klemm, Ed Booth and Robert Belcher. Voting for the motion were Richardson and commissioners Stan Deatherage and Gary Brinn.

Richardson contends the existing jail meets state jail guidelines and still has a useful life. That’s partly why he wanted Sermons, the resident Superior Court judge in the 2nd Judicial District, to dissolve the order he issued in September in the wake of the jail being evacuated for safety reasons after several problems, including power outages, hit the jail in June of last year. The jail reopened Sept. 13 of last year and began housing inmates again. Along with issuing an order reopening the jail, Sermons also ordered, “That the Board of Commissioners shall continue to plan and design a county jail that meets the minimum standards in the State of North Carolina. That such planning and construction shall proceed in as timely a manner as possible given the time restraints of architectural service, financing, and construction times.”

Sermons further required the Board of Commissioners to submit a written progress report on the new jail before each administrative session of Beaufort County Criminal Superior Court. That order included a list of those dates.

Some commissioners, especially Commissioner Hood Richardson, took exception to Sermons’ order regarding the building of a new jail.

Richardson contends the county does not need a new jail because the existing jail meets state standards regarding jails.

‘This is an incredible event you just witnessed. You’ve elected these people to look after your money. They’re not looking after it. They want to build a new jail. They don’t care what anybody else says. That’s a very defining moment for them in what’s going on here,” Richardson told the audience after the vote was taken.




About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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