It’s been a year since former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford was sent off to federal prison to serve time after being convicted of corruption charges. Medford was found guilty of essentially helping along the illegal operation of video poker machines here. It was a sad tale of taking pay-offs and looking the other way as the poker machine owners and operators raked in hundreds and thousands of dollars off of mostly poor gamblers.
The trial and conviction ranks as the most significant case of corruption in a local public office ever in Buncombe County. And yet the story seemed to fail to really resonate with the taxpaying public. I still don’t understand why it didn’t.
Medford’s trial ended with strong hints from federal prosecutors that more public officials would be charged. Strong hints. But there’s been nothing, which is surprising. Medford was certainly not the only powerful public official to be involved in such a wide-ranging corruption scandal. The federal prosecutors should be held accountable for their apparent lack of action.
The sad end of the story is that Medford, along with a couple of cronies, went to federal prison. All were in their 60s. None were in the best of health.
And the one good thing that could have come out the trial never materialized – a change in state law to make sheriff’s office in the state of North Carolina an appointed office, rather than an elected office. That one change would do wonders to raise the level of professionalism in sheriff’s departments across our fair state.
Sheriffs should be appointed. There is no question that we have a better Sheriff’s operation than what we had before. But there are politicos such as Don Reavis (Chief Deputy Buncombe County) who brings no credentials to the job, among other things, and others who have to be brought in to satisfy the party in power.
"grm, care to elaborate?"
I guess I should have elaborated more than just a WRONG. Show us readers where a government appointed position is better than one where the voters gets to decide who is going to make decisions for us. Once someone gets appointed it is very hard to have that person removed if they make a serious mistake, at least if they are voted in by the people they can get voted out.
grm, care to elaborate?
Star, really? i’ll have to check that out. could you email me locations?
"one good thing that could have come out the trial never materialized – a change in state law to make sheriff’s office in the state of North Carolina an appointed office, rather than an elected office. That one change would do wonders to raise the level of professionalism in sheriff’s departments across our fair state".
Perhaps the saddest thing about all of this – video poker/gambling games – is that there are machines back in use. Within the last couple of months, I have noticed that two or three new games rooms have opened up on Sweeten Creek in the South Asheville/Arden.
I was under the impression that machines are illegal. Perhaps, I am wrong. Maybe the machines they have are different.