What Greenville Co. Council wants to know about Sheriff Lewis

FILE: Greenville County Council meeting

Since allegations of sexual assault and harassment have surfaced against Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis, county council members have been faced with dozens of questions by their constituents.

Sheriff Lewis admitted to an extramarital encounter, but denies any criminal wrongdoing.

County Council took their stance on the issue when they voted on a resolution of no faith in Lewis, asking him to resign. But past the vote, council has no power to discipline the Sheriff.

Since that special called October meeting, council has voted to go forward with a financial audit of the Sheriff’s Office.

In emails provided to 7 News, council members are also discussing other questions they want answered Will Lewis and his time in office.

Chairman Butch Kirven told his fellow council members that he wants to hold a committee of the whole meeting to discuss what information they have available to several questions, and what information they can take up in a discussion or consider specific actions on.

Those questions are as follows:

  1. What is the statutory relationship, if any, between County Council and Sheriff’s Office?
  2. What legal authority, if any, does County Council have in overseeing the policies, personnel operations, and conduct of the sheriff?
  3. Is it within the power of County Council to arbitrarily change the established salary of those offices on the ballot, depending upon who won?
  4. How many out-of-county or out-of-state , overnight trips has Sheriff Will Lewis taken since being sworn into office in January 2017?
  5. What was the location, purpose, and who were the other attendees on such trips?
  6. Since taking office, how many senor ranking sheriff’s office personnel have been demoted (reassigned) by authority of Sheriff Will Lewis to deputy, or basic level functions, while retaining the higher rate of pay of their former senior positions?
  7. Since taking office, how many junior rank sheriff’s office personnel have been promoted by authority of Sheriff Will Lewis to senior level positions or given pay raises?
  8. Does Greenville County’s Personnel Policy apply to personnel of the Sheriff’s Office?
  9. Is there a Tbale of Organization for the Sheriff’s Office showing all authorized personnel positions, qualifications, and salary range for each position?
  10. How does the salary of the Greenville County Sheriff, the range of salaries of supervisory positions and deputy positions compare with other counties such as Richland, Charleston, and Spartanburg?
  11. What is the total number of authorized personnel for the Sheriff’s Office, how many positions are filled and how many are vacant, for each job classification?
  12. Does the Sheriff’s Office have a budget and accounting office separate and apart from the County’s budget and accounting office?
  13. Is the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office budget in-line with other County Sheriff’s Offices around the state?
  14. Are the travel expenses for the Sheriff’s Office personnel paid through the Sheriff’s Office budgeted account and not from the County’s budgeted accounts?
  15. Are there any financial controls in place to prevent the Sheriff from exceeding the authorized budget (spending more than approved) for the Sheriff’s Office?
  16. If County Council, through the County Administrator, has direct oversight of county departments such as Public Works, Parks and Recreation, etc., why not the Sheriff’s Office? What about the Auditor, Treasurer, Register of Deeds, Coroner?
  17. Under SC Law, what are the required qualifications, if any, for any person to serve as the County Sheriff?
  18. Are there any professional organizations composed of County Sheriffs and Law Enforcement Personnel which holds their members to a Code of Conduct, Ethics, and Professional Standards?

7 News has several pending Freedom of Information Act requests out to answer these very questions.