Franklin County Sheriff Jim Raymond used the Sheriff’s office Facebook page to complain that Franklin County Auditor Matt Beaton had cancelled his credit card and docked his wages.
According to Raymond’s Facebook post, “Today (6/16/23) the Franklin County Auditor, along with his employees turned off my Sheriffs Office PCARD. A card which, I utilize to conduct Sheriffs Office business.”
“In addition, the Franklin County Auditor and his employees unlawfully seized money from my wages. This was done without authorization or consent,” Raymond wrote.
According to Raymond, the actions were taken because he charged a meal “while conducting business as the Sheriff at the criminal justice training academy.”
When one commenter suggested, “Don’t fall on your sword over this,” Raymond responded, “But this is one I’m willing to fall on my sword over.
He wrote, “It’s about standing up to a rogue Franklin County Auditor whom [sic] can’t seem to stay in his lane. His interference in law enforcement operations needs to stop.”
Raymond may have been referring to another issue with the auditor that he raised at the June 6 Franklin County Commission meeting. He complained then that Beaton’s office had proposed rolling back the budget line item for his department’s uniforms and associated expenses from $70,000 to $15,000.
Raymond told the commissioners, “You say no, you can’t have a uniform because there’s no money for it doesn’t work that way, never has in public safety and never will work in public safety. So, I’ll leave it at that and probably in the near future.”
Beaton spoke to the commissioners after Raymond, “You three gentlemen know you control the budget. You make changes at the end. I have nothing to do with that. This function when I say the audit function, the other function is merely reporting on the policies and rules that are in place. . . We’re just reporting and in fact, if we don’t do that on behalf of you, you have no control at all. . . it’s not popular when someone explains pay per diem, per the policy and we go to the policy. The policy can be changed by the board.”
Commenters on Raymond’s Facebook post quickly came down on both sides.
One person wrote that they cringe every time they read the page because of the sheriff’s use of it for political propaganda. They added, “I really hope everybody in Franklin County who voted last time will do due diligence before voting next time. Not just unprofessional-embarrassing.”
Raymond responded that there was no need to worry as he wasn’t running again but would continue to call out peoples’ “illicit acts.”
Pasco City Council candidate Leo Persales wrote, “We got your back Sheriff!”
“I know you well enough to say that your biggest asset is your honesty and integrity. I also know you well enough to say that when you believe you are doing the right thing, you will defend yourself,” former Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger commented.
“It would be great if the voters of Franklin County could start electing some professional adults to official positions, rather than a crowd of squabbling schoolkids,” wrote one person.
“Sweet Jesus I miss Sheriff Wallace Bradley,” one commenter wrote. Bradley served as sheriff from 1978 to 1986.
This isn’t the first controversy involving the auditor and spending by Franklin County officials. On May 1 Beaton issued a press release claiming that Franklin County Commissioners had violated state law by giving themselves a raise during the time they were in office.
After the 2016 election, Franklin County commissioners voted to allow county staff the option of receiving cash instead of health care benefits. The commissioners also had the cash option which Beaton considers a raise.
In Beaton’s opinion, that means that Commissioner Brad Peck owes the county $47,000, former Commissioner Bob Koch owes nearly $20,000, and former Commissioner Rick Miller owes a little over $21,000 since the three voted for the change and chose the cash option.
County Prosecutor Shawn Sant is investigating whether the law applies to this case.