Kershaw County Council formally honored former Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews for his years of service to the county during its meeting Tuesday.
Council officially presented a framed resolution honoring Matthews, who served as Kershaw County Sheriff from 2011 through 2018. In addition, new Sheriff Lee Boan presented Matthews with the service weapon he carried while sheriff. Boan thanked Matthews for his leadership, service and friendship -- and especially for Matthews’ efforts to make the transition between the two as smooth and as seamless as possible. Boan noted that while he was attending sheriff’s school, a week-long state program newly elected sheriffs and their command staffs attend prior to taking office, he heard nothing but “horror stories” from other sheriffs about how messy -- and sometimes even vituperative -- their transition periods had been.
“They talked about how their departments were left so messy and disorganized by their predecessors -- apparently some had some bitter transitions,” Boan said. “Thanks to Sheriff Matthews, I didn’t have to deal with any of that -- he has gone above and beyond in making this as smooth as possible. Thank you for setting me up for success.”
Boan said not only is the organization in sound shape, but even his office has been repainted.
“He left it perfect – the only thing he left in the desk was a photo of him -- and I told him I want it autographed,” Boan said.
Boan held up a case containing a Glock pistol, the one Matthews carried as sheriff, telling council and the gathered citizens that it is a long-standing custom to present an officer’s duty weapon to that officer upon retirement.
“However, Sheriff Matthews was so focused on making sure we had everything we need that he left his weapon -- just in case we were down one and needed to equip a deputy. I’m happy to say, we are in good shape that way, and we are pleased to present this to him.”
Boan then opened the case, noting that he had to add one item; he then placed a picture of himself in the case -- eliciting a laugh from all gathered -- and presented it to Matthews.
Matthews then briefly took to the lectern, thanking a number of people, including his wife, Heather, who not only steadfastly supported him throughout his tenure as sheriff, but deftly ran his initial election campaign. He also thanked council for their willingness to spend money on the department.
“We would not be in the position we currently enjoy if it hadn’t been for your support and your approving funds for what we needed,” Matthews said.
Finally, the former sheriff thanked the men and women of the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office.
“Being sheriff is kind of like being the coach of a sports team -- whatever accolades we get are squarely off the backs of those men and women who are on the team and working so hard every day. And nobody’s perfect, but we have a very good team. Every one of them works so hard and deals with so much -- if people could watch camera footage of what the men and women of the sheriff’s office do, every minute of every day, they just wouldn’t believe it.”
Council tabled first reading of an ordinance addressing the use of shipping containers as secondary structures.
Some confusion occurred when Councilman Al Bozard, who is sponsoring the ordinance, wanted to introduce amendments. However, Bozard, who was making his amendments based on a copy of the ordinance approved by the county planning commission, was the only councilmember in possession of that copy, which was not the same as the version included in the council agenda packet.
As it turned out, county staff, apparently realizing that the council agenda contained the wrong version of the ordinance distributed hard copies of the correct ordinance at the beginning of the meeting.
This did not sit well with other council members, and drew a sharp rebuke from Council Chair Julian Burns.
“That is not the way to be transparent and not how we do business here,” he said. “We approved this agenda based on the information it contained and this was not part of it. You can’t just introduce things like this at the last minute -- we all have to be on the same page.”
At a motion from Bozard, council tabled first reading of the ordinance until its Jan. 29 meeting.
Council awarded a bid of $43,995 to Kershaw Builders Inc. of Lugoff for parking lot improvements at the Kershaw County Detention Center. This was the lowest of three bids received.
Council also reappointed Melinda Cashion, Kenneth Lawson, Billy Newman and Jeff Carraway to the Kershaw County Recreation Commission.
Kershaw County Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29 in the Kershaw County Government Center. Meetings are open to the public.