Martin: RW deputy schedule works well

RIDGEWAY – An opponent from the get-go of Council’s decision to contract with the Fairfield County Sheriff for law enforcement in Ridgeway, Councilwoman Angela Harrison asked for an update on the new arrangement during last week’s Town Council meeting.

“I’d like to see a monthly schedule [of Deputy Sheriffs’ work assignments. When we met in December, you said you’d come back with an adjusted schedule to kind of mix things up each month,” Harrison said, addressing Councilman Dan Martin. “Also, before, we were getting reports on incidents and things that were happening in town, and the number of tickets being written. I know that you and the mayor said tickets are being written, so I would like to see some kind of documentation on that.”

“We did talk about a staggered schedule for the deputies in the town,” Martin said. “When we contracted for 24-hour police protection for the town, it was to have security for the town. So that schedule that I forwarded Major Bradley could change weekly, change monthly. It’s not out there for general knowledge. They [deputies] are here when we ask them to be here. Crime is not scheduled. They’ve been very good about being here,” Martin said.

“I know the schedule, Vivian (Case, town clerk) knows the schedule, Heath (Cookendorfer, mayor) knows the schedule. Quite frankly, I don’t think anyone needs to know the schedule beyond that.  I don’t think you need to know the schedule,” Martin added. He went on to say that putting those things on Facebook lets people know the deputies’ schedules.

“That would compromise the security for the town,” Martin said.

“I’m sorry,” Harrison broke in, “I’m part of the ‘we’.”

“As for the tickets,” Martin continued, “They do write tickets. They pulled someone in front of my house yesterday,” he said. “I talked to Major Bradley and they know what’s being done in Ridgeway 24/7.

“I don’t believe in micromanaging their job,” Martin said. “They are doing their job. The Sheriff can allocate the deputies anywhere in town. It’s a misuse of resources to not put them where they’re needed.”

Martin said the Sheriff asked him if the Town had had any complaints about the [deputies’] service in the town.

“We have not had one complaint, here, officially at Town Hall” Martin said. “He [the sheriff], in turn, has not had a single complaint from a Ridgeway resident. The deputies are here, they are on duty, they are writing tickets. And, no, there is not a [schedule] list.”

“So what I’m hearing is that I’m not a part of ‘we,’” Harrison said. “And secondly my complaint about speeding down my road with my child riding her bike doesn’t count. My complaint to this council about the speeders down our road, doesn’t count. So as a resident, I’m not counted with my voice,” Harrison said.

“There have been no official complaints,” Martin said.

Councilman Rufus Jones said he didn’t think the town government needed to start telling Sheriff Montgomery how to run his department.

In other business, council voted 4-0 to hire as an as-needed town attorney with no retainer fee. Councilman Donald Prioleau was not present.

Council also voted 4-0 to award $1,000 for the second annual yarn bombing of downtown Ridgeway to help promote the 13th annual Arts on the Ridge event which is scheduled for May 4.

A unanimous vote awarded MIKA Contracting the bid to repair the building at 160 South Palmer Street that previously housed the Ridgeway Police Department.  MIKA’s bid of $4,450 is contingent on a meeting with Councilmen Dan Martin and Rufus Jones to confirm the company is sufficiently licensed and insured. While there was some discussion questioning where the money would come from to pay for the work, no decision was made other than that the repairs are necessary.

The three other bids included First Class Construction ($4,715.00), Southern Renovation & Construction ($7,003.62) and Taylor Maid ($35,400).

Three bids for construction of four public restrooms in the building at 128 South Palmer Street (behind Olde Town Hall restaurant) all exceeded the $35,000 council allocated for the project from Hospitality funds. The three bids were submitted by Taylor Maid ($197,000), Southern Renovation & Construction ($51,848.55) and Catalyst Construction ($215,150).

Council voted unanimously to rebid the project for only two handicap restrooms instead of two handicap and two regular restrooms.

Following the public session, Council went into executive session to discuss a contractual matter regarding Civil Engineering of Columbia.