Chesterfield County Sheriff Robert Lee said his first week in office has been a busy one. “I’ve put in some long hours this week trying to get a handle on all the various aspects of the job.”
On the administrative side, Lee said, “I’m trying to establish more stability and continuity, with respect to the chain of command. I’m not a micro-manager.” For example, he said, “There’s no reason I should be asked if a deputy can have the day off or not.” Someone else is perfectly capable of handling those decisions, he said.
The most time consuming and perhaps the most “mentally stimulating” task he faced during his first week was getting a grip on the department’s budget, said Lee. Not only is he having to learn what and where the department’s assets are, he’s having to prepare a budget to present to Chesterfield County Council by May 1.
“I, personally, spent 14 hours going over old checks. I went through every single check the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Department has written for the past two and one half years,” said Lee. “That’s the best way to see where your money’s going.”
Perhaps, that kind of attention to detail is one of the reasons the Chesterfield County Solicitor, who has worked with Lee for several years, described him as “a stickler for detail.”
Lee is making some organizational changes in the office building as well. Some offices are being shuffled around so that the people who work more closely together are not separated by lengthy hallways. The Chesterfield County Sheriff’s office is located in the old Health Department building on Scotch Road in Chesterfield.
Lee was quick to say he is surrounded by a professional staff of well trained and well informed deputies and personnel, and that he feels in many ways former Sheriff Sam Parker “did a good job.” But he hopes to “modernize the department.”
“Up-grading technology is definitely a priority,” said Lee. “I would like to see everything become digital. That way, all of your information is, literally, at your fingertips … no files everywhere.”
Former Sheriff Sam Parker, who served that office for 10 years, was indicted March 19, following an investigation by South Carolina Law Enforcement (SLED). Parker is charged with four counts of misconduct in office and a felony charge for supplying contraband to an inmate.
Parker ‘s duties were temporarily bestowed upon Chesterfield County Coroner Kip Kiser. Lee was appointed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and sworn into office April 19. Lee said he plans to serve until Parker is “either reinstated” with an innocent verdict, or the term expires in November 2014.
“I will not be running for election,” said Lee.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at email@example.com.