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Posted on: April 27, 2017

Sheriff Peterkin Rejects His Lawyer's Proposal to Turn Over Timesheets

Late last night, we learned from District Attorney Kristy Newton that Sheriff Hubert Peterkin has refused to cooperate with the County and turn over Sheriff’s Office employee timesheets pursuant to a protective order recommended by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s legal counsel and District Attorney Kristy Newton who are representing Sheriff Peterkin. The Sheriff’s legal counsel, along with the District Attorney and Hoke County’s lawyers spent days negotiating a very reasonable protective order only to have it rejected by Sheriff Peterkin.

We are extremely disappointed with Sheriff Peterkin’s decision to reject the very protective order his lawyers proposed. This protective order would facilitate the production of the timesheets that are essential to completing the County’s internal investigation, while protecting Sheriff Peterkin's interest in maintaining confidentiality. As previously reported, the County’s investigation is being conducted concurrently with the ongoing SBI investigation involving payroll irregularities in the County and the Sheriff’s Department.

This is a loss for Hoke County and all of its citizens. The County has been completely transparent and cooperative throughout the SBI’s investigation, and we ask Sheriff Peterkin to cooperate and be transparent as well.

On April 17, the NC Local Government Commission’s Director of Fiscal Management met with County Commissioners noting that the County had made great progress in improving its financial operations. She expressed concern that the County’s external audit would be delayed because the County’s internal investigation was not complete, which would impact the financial operations of the County.

In response, Sheriff Peterkin’s lawyers have shown a reasonable pathway to facilitating the production of these critically important timesheets. Given the recommendations of his lawyers, it is unclear why Sheriff Peterkin continues to withhold the requested timesheets, particularly since his office is not leading the SBI investigation, which involves payroll irregularities in the Sheriff’s Office. It’s time to get to the bottom of what actually happened so that the County can move on.

We strongly urge Sheriff Peterkin to reconsider his decision to release the timesheets. The requested timesheets were delivered to the county by the Sheriff’s Office as part of the routine payroll process. The County must determine if the timesheets in its possession were altered. The only way to determine whether the timesheets were altered is to review the copies retained by the Sheriff’s Office. Completing the internal investigation is what’s best for the County and its citizens. Delaying the process further only causes more harm.

Our priority remains providing the SBI with our full cooperation. The results of Cherry Bekaert’s review will immediately be turned over to the District Attorney and the SBI as promised. The County remains transparent and is committed to our citizens and to restoring confidence in the County.
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