Skip to main content

Williams’ message: The county commissioners will not be bullied

By August 7, 2023September 18th, 2023No Comments

In light of the recent events at the county commissioners’ office containing jail trust records, Board of County Commissioners chair John Williams issued the following statement.
“On July 27, 2023, Sheriff Kevin Clardy, former commissioner assistant Heather Carter, along with another deputy believed to be Mike Manning, came to the commissioners’ office while no one was present. The intent was to, I believe, retrieve documents. They knew that the commissioners were in conference that day. They were unable to retrieve any documents on this date.
“Wednesday, August 2, 2023, Sheriff Kevin Clardy and Heather Carter came to the commissioners’ office with a letter from a private attorney Gary James out of OKC requesting they coordinate with the county commissioners to retrieve Jail Trust documents. They then requested that the new county commissioner assistant as well as the District 1 office manager hand over Jail Trust documents.
“The District 1 office manager, Christie Graham, called me saying that the sheriff and Heather were again at the office to take all of Jail Trust documents. I asked her not to let them leave with anything, explained I was on the way. I then called Idabel Chief of Police John Martin to be a witness until I got there. Additionally, I spoke with the District Attorney and was advised not to let them take anything from our office. All the documents are and have been kept at the commissioners’ office for years. We must continue to hold on to these documents for transparency to the public.
“When I arrived at the commissioners’ office, I saw there were several law enforcement officers from different branches. I proceeded inside and spoke with the sheriff. I was very respectful at that time and told the sheriff I would take a look and give what is needed, but I was sorry, he would not be taking anything from this office at this time.
“In came Mike Manning, the undersheriff, with some remarks that I will not repeat in this message to the public. But I will say it was very disrespectful towards me and the office I hold. There may be a video or audio released of my behavior toward him. He had raised his voice at me after being asked to calm down and spoke very sternly, and I lashed out with an explicit response.
“What I said was very disrespectful and in no way nice to him or the sheriff. I apologize to them both, my constituents and to the citizens of this county, as well as to my staff and the other county commissioners.
“We, the county commissioners of McCurtain County, will continue to hold on to any and all documents that the citizens of this county have entrusted to us.
“Ray Bamberg, Robert Beck, and I will continue to be as transparent as we can be for the citizens of the county.
“We will not be bullied.
“I hope to move forward and better the relationship between us all. We must set aside our pride and better our relationship with each department as a whole. We need to be more transparent and help one another for the betterment of not only our districts but also the people of the county.
“The people deserve better from us all. Thank you and God bless.”
John Wayne Williams
McCurtain County Commissioner District 1
McCurtain County Jail Trust Chair