The Williams County Sheriff’s Department will not be moving out of the house on the fairgrounds any time soon, if at all.
Investigation to the legality of the Board of County Commissioners desire to move the sheriff out and have the Department of Jobs and Family services move in showed the board was misguided in its approach. The board did not have the authority to enter an agreement with the sheriff to use the ranch-style house and would have to work with the Williams County Agricultural Society to remove the sheriff.
According to the Revised Code 1711.31, when the title to the fairgrounds is held by the county board, the control and management of the fairgrounds is “vested in the board of directors of the agricultural society.”
This admission comes in a statement from the Board of County Commissioners dated Jan. 12 and sent to Sheriff Steven Towns and Fair Board President David Page informing both parties the county will not initiate eviction proceedings nor fund the sheriff should he choose to remain.
The commissioners cited RC 307.01 that requires the county to provide offices when needed in the opinion of the board. Under RC 1711.31 it is the fair board is responsible for utilities, repairs, alterations and other needs.
The statement was signed by all three serving commissioners.
The sheriff said he would be willing to discuss sharing space in the house with the JFS.
The commissioners and JFS Director Fred Lord had wanted his department to take possession to use the house as a waiting station for children in the foster care network, for supervised visitations and for classes on cooking and housekeeping for JFS clients.
James Pruitt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org