DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — First-year Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson wants a bigger slice of the 2018 county budget than commissioners approved last month and he is prepared to take them to court to get it.
Johnson’s attorney Joseph Homans sent County Attorney Lynn Frey an email requesting additional legal fees for the sheriff regarding the petition for mandamus he intends to file in Superior Court should the county not approve the budget submitted by the sheriff in July.
According to the petition, that request was for $8,961,406. In September county commissioners approved a budget of $8,273,080.
The petition states, “The budget approved by Respondents constitutes abuse of discretion as Respondents failed to fulfill their duty to adopt a budget making reasonable and adequate provisions for personnel and equipment necessary to enable the Sheriff to perform his duties.”
As of Tuesday (Oct. 24), Homans said he had nothad a response from the county.
Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond said, “We are looking at it with our attorney right now. We will discuss it in executive session on Thursday and I will be able to say more about it then.”
The sheriff’s budgeting process is unlike any in state government. Commissioners control the budget, but sheriffs are constitutional officers, elected by the citizens. Their budgets cannot be cut unless the sheriff agrees.
Commissioners contend the budget they approved reflects an increase over the 2017 budget.