Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson believed he didn’t need to play by the rules. In fact, he said as much. He ran the sheriff’s office his way.
The Davis County Commission transferred three financial positions out of the sheriff’s office as part of its 2018 budget. The employees now report to County Clerk-Auditor Curtis Koch.
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Commissioners had no choice. Richardson dared them to take control of his finances.
In March, commissioners sent Richardson a letter rebuking him for “a serious lack of good judgment.”
“Regardless of your motivation or your apparent understanding of governing policies, the facts support the conclusion that your actions violated county policy,” said the commissioners, who directed Richardson to begin following the county’s financial and personnel policies.
By the end of the year, a series of five internal audits found Richardson had approved false time cards for a deputy, spent nearly $900 for a deputy’s stay at a luxury hotel after a shooting, paid questionable travel expenses for deputies and mishandled cash intended for prisoners at the jail.
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When asked in late September if he was following county policies, as instructed, Richardson laughed.
“No … some of that stuff is just not practical,” he told Mark Shenefelt, a reporter for the Standard-Examiner.
“My responsibility is to the people of Davis County, the voters, not to the county commission, the county attorney or the auditor,” Richardson said. “I took an oath to do that, and I’ll do that first before I do any political appeasements.”
Then, for emphasis, Richardson asked commissioners for an additional $15 million in 2018.
Counties develop financial guidelines in order to spend taxpayer money effectively. They implement personnel policies to treat employees fairly and avoid costly lawsuits.
Richardson believed he didn’t need to play by county rules, but his record shows otherwise. Commissioners could not stand by and watch as he put the county at legal and financial risk.
He failed his financial responsibility to Davis County taxpayers.