Hill orders probe of excess items

By Ed Brock

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill wants to know how his jail warehouse is overstocked with mattresses, sheets and television sets and more.

Immediately after taking office Hill and his staff began looking into what he calls serious mismanagement by former Sheriff Stanley Tuggle. Walking down the long rows of metal shelves in the jail's massive warehouse he found what he said are over a million sheets, 106 basketballs, 27 new televisions, windows for the courthouse and 10,000 unused inmate uniforms.

Hill said he doesn't have any idea what all the excess material stored in the warehouse located in the jail complex at the Harold R. Banke Justice Center is worth.

"Keep in mind that the jail can only hold 1,900 (inmates) and the current head count is 1,200," Hill said. "It's just gross mismanagement."

Hill has asked for an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation into how the jail ended up with all this stuff, saying he's "sitting on one big crime scene and we have to do a paper trail."

"My greatest fear I hope is not true. I hope there's no kickbacks," Hill said.

Contacted at home Friday night, Tuggle said he had no comment on the subject since a GBI investigation may be pending.

Hill said he had requested the GBI investigation in writing Friday but had not yet heard back from the agency.

On Hill's first day on the job he fired 27 members of the jail's command staff, a move he says has been misinterpreted. His intention, he said, was to get to the bottom of what was going on in the department.

Also, Hill pointed out that he had no transition and Tuggle basically told him that he would be allowed into the building at the stroke of midnight Jan. 1 when his term began.

"Now I understand why," Hill said. "If I was allowed to come in before I would have found a lot of things wrong."

The sheriff's office was already $365,000 over budget, Hill said. His internal investigation so far has also turned up petty cash in places where it shouldn't be, and he said he's going to have to order razor wire to top the fences around the jail because the wire there now is no good.

"A man my age can climb that fence," Hill said.

Hill said the companies that provided the material were still sending orders to the jail and tried to deliver some more mattresses on Friday. After the investigation he will also have to find out what to do with all the excess material.

"All this belongs to the taxpayers," Hill said.