The issue of new county patrol cars and the money to pay for them may not be resolved for several days. County Commissioner Jason Winters has said the cars were never approved, have not been paid for, and are not insured, bids were never sought and they should never have been brought into the county. Winters says he did not authorize the purchase and in fact when he learned of the vehicles, he specifically told Chattooga County Sheriff John Everett not to have the final two V-6 Dodge Chargers picked up by deputies from Jacky Jones Dodge in Cleveland, Ga. This past Wednesday Everett told AM 1180 that Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters approved the purchase of four cars and said he was NOT told by the commissioner to not have the cars brought here.
On January 25 in a recorded interview, in which Sheriff Everett knew was being recorded, 1180 AM’s Julie Steele specifically asked the sheriff: “For the record, was this effort in any way by you go against the commissioners wishes to buy cars for the department?" Everett responded, "um…absolutely not. He and I have worked well in the past and …I’m sure we will come to a conclusion that makes everyone happy in this situation. It’s just an unfortunate situation and we were told to get four cars and we got four cars. They’re here. We’re ready to go."On Friday Everett acknowledged to AM 1180 that he was told by Commissioner Jason Winters not to send deputies to Cleveland Georgia to pick up the last two Dodge Chargers and did it anyway. On Friday, Everett said he went against Winter’s directive because he had an obligation to the dealership and chose to have those two vehicles picked up.
According to Winter’s the proper bid procedure was not followed and the sheriff cannot enter into a multi-year agreement beyond this year’s budget. The Sheriff was looking at a 4-year lease at $26,000 a year with a $1 payout per vehicle at the end of the lease. The $26,000 is within the Sheriff’s $45,000 annual budget for vehicle purchases. The problem is the 4 year lease and the fact the county’s bid procedure was not followed. Winters says he does not see this as being completely resolved in the next several days and the county simply shouldn’t have received the cars until they were paid for.