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Wyatt to board: Drop training center pursuit

Two days after Sheriff Charlie McDonald lost his re-election bid, County Manager Steve Wyatt has recommended to county commissioners that they drop work on a law enforcement training center, an idea that the sheriff-elect, Lowell Griffin, has opposed.

Wyatt, after consulting with Chairman Michael Edney, noted that Griffin would "no doubt have new priorities" and said it's up the Board of Commissioners "within our resources" to work with him. The Board of Commissioners, which paid a deposit and made an offer to the owner of property on Macedonia Road that McDonald had identified as a potential training center site, has to act on the property purchase before the end of May. It's expected to take up the question in its May 16 meeting. If it takes Wyatt's recommendation, it will withdraw its purchase offer and drop the training center discussion for the foreseeable future.

Here's the memo:

"December will bring a new Sheriff’s Administration to Henderson County Government. As with the previous Sheriffs we have worked with, he will no doubt have new priorities and bring strategies perhaps different from his predecessors. It is our duty and responsibility to work with him, within our resources, to help him accomplish the mission of the Sheriff’s department to protect and serve our citizens.
"Given the long term design and implementation process of a Law Enforcement Training Center project, in consultation with Chairman Edney, it is my recommendation that further work on the project be suspended until the incoming Sheriff assesses and determines the overall needs of the department.
"You will need to make a decision prior to the property purchase deadline. Official action cannot be taken until your May 16th budget work session. Please consider how you want to proceed and be prepared to instruct staff accordingly."