Sumter Commissioners Continue to Waste Taxpayers’ Money

Randy Howard, Chairman of the Sumter County Commissioners, is still paying Atlanta lawyers to fight a losing school redistricting case.

Staff Report,

It has been 5 years since NAACP President Mathis Kearse Wright, Jr. filed the lawsuit against the Sumter County Board of Elections and Registration for violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1964. This is the case that deals with the Sumter County school districts that were illegally changed by former State Representative Mike Cheokas. Randy Howard and the White Commissioners are going back to Federal Court the week of June 05, 2017 in Albany, Georgia.

The County Commissioners voted 3-2 to spend $1,000,000.00 to defend the suit against Wright. Five years later the suit has gained strength because there have been 3 election cycles and Black Candidates have not won a single county-wide election. Wright’s lawsuit proved that Blacks could not win At-large districts in which the entire county votes.

Dr. John Marshall said “It must be about the money, it makes no sense to continue spending the taxpayers’ money on a case that they can’t win. Our Commissioners are letting Attorney Anne Lewis and her partners drive up the bill that the Sumter citizens have to pay. Lewis leads a Republican law firm that has a reputation of attacking majority Black school boards around GA.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is Wright’s legal Council. The case was made when the School Board, their attorneys, State Senator Freddie Powell Sims and State Representative Mike Cheokas created a bill to change how school board members would be selected. The change allowed the county to draw 5 single member seats and 2 at-large seats. Wright’s lawsuit challenged the 5-2 alignment and gave the County an option to have 7 single member seats but they have refused the option.

“Many Citizens have spoken out about the Commissioners always complaining why they don’t have money in the budget for employee wage increases, road repairs, new or used
equipment, replacing employees, fully staffing the Sheriffs’ department, and many other county needs. But the County Commissioners are having no difficulties funding a lawsuit
that can’t be won,” says Marshall.

Our citizens should call (229-928-4500) and speak to the 3 commissioners: Randy Howard, Mark Waddell, and George Torbert who voted yes to spend our money on this lawsuit. Commissioners Clay Jones and Thomas Jordan did not vote to give the Lewis law firm millions of our tax dollars. Direct your outrage to the three White Commissioners for throwing away our tax dollars to an Atlanta law firm that could care less about Sumter County.

Wright was asked for a comment but declined because of the pending litigation.