Sheriff Suttles to step down
Haywood County Sheriff Bobby Suttles announced he is stepping down in early February.
Suttles, 68, was appointed sheriff in February 2009 following the retirement of then-sheriff Tom Alexander. Suttles was elected to the post in November 2010, a term which was to expire in 2014.
Suttles declined to comment on his decision, but has been putting the word out about his impending retirement quietly for the past several weeks.
Haywood County Commission Chairman Mark Swanger said he has spoken with Suttles about the issue, but has not yet received the formal letter notifying the commissioners of his decision. It's a letter County Manager Marty Stamey gave him a heads-up to expect.
“I understand he told his deputies last night,” Swanger said Thursday. “We had no conversations about who he would recommend. He just said it was time.”
When an elected official resigns mid-term, the political party who he or she represents makes a recommendation for the replacement to the board of county commissioners.
When the Democratic Party was charged with the task three years ago, the party executive committee sought applications from those interested in the post and held a public forum where the candidates could make a case for their selection.
The party’s executive committee, comprised of the precinct chairman and vice-chairman, as well all elected officials living in the county registered as Democrats (except for judges), all party officers, a representative vote from each representative Democratic affiliate organization.
Suttles served as Alexander’s chief deputy for five years and for a total of 14 years within the sheriff’s office prior to his appointment at sheriff. At the time, he touted his knowledge about the inner workings of the sheriff’s office, as well as 30 years of law enforcement experience as making him the best candidate.
Party Chairwoman Janie Benson could not be reached by press deadline to outline how the recommendation process would work this time around.