The president of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association would like to see sheriff-elect Victor Hill step aside until his legal issues are resolved.
GSA President Howard Sills says the Victor Hill situation quickly took center stage at their meeting last week in Savannah. The organization believes that Hill cannot be effective as sheriff as long as he is plagued by legal troubles.
The controversial former Clayton County sheriff won re-election on November 6, and plans to reclaim his office in January. But Hill has been indicted on 32 felony charges, which prompted the Georgia Sheriff's Association to write Governor Nathan Deal a letter. The association is asking the governor to appoint a three-person panel to assess the charges and suspend Hill until his legal matters are resolved.
"Membership of the Georgia Sheriff's Association are quite concerned with the entire matter. It would be very difficult to carry on in that position of leadership, I think, while you have been indicted for felonious crimes in the county where you are the chief law enforcement officer. Certainly it's embarrassing. Mr. Hill has not been convicted. And we are acutely aware of that," said Sills.
The sheriff's association has recommended a temporary replacement for Hill, naming retired Clayton County sheriff Bill Lemacks. They would like for him to serve as sheriff until sheriff-elect Victor Hill can get his matters resolved.
Hill's attorney, Drew Findling, disputed the GSA's assertions.
"I think [Clayton County residents] are entitled to have a sheriff that reflects their choice, not the choice of white people," said Findling.
Findling says the GSA is grandstanding, and said the suggestion of Lemacks is an insult.
"We don't care about a sheriff sitting in the middle of Georgia, or a sheriff on the coast, or south Georgia, north Georgia -- the only people Victor Hill cares about are the people of Clayton County. And they have spoken," Findling said.
The final decision is up to Governor Deal. Hill's attorney is hoping the governor will allow him to serve the citizens of Clayton County until his case is resolved.