AND WHY WE CARE …
Earlier this week, FITS exclusively reported on Darlington County (S.C.) Sheriff Wayne Byrd’s admission of an extramarital affair.
Wait … what do we care about the personal life of some penny ante Barney Fife in the South Carolina backwoods?
We’re writing about it because Byrd’s affair fits both of the criteria we normally use in weighing whether to write about people’s personal problems – a clear connection between the affair and an official’s taxpayer-funded duties and/ or an element of hypocrisy in terms of the image they present to voters.
In Byrd’s case he was banging a subordinate at the Darlington County Sheriff’s office – and may have even fired an employee in an effort to keep his affair a secret. Not only that Byrd proposed giving his lover a raise nearly 20 times larger than the one he proposed giving a more qualified employee.
That’s clearly an abuse of the public trust.
Then there’s Byrd’s response to the drama …
“This story is two years old and the facts have not changed in that time,” Byrd said. “My wife, my family, and my God are fully aware of my actions, and have been aware since the beginning. They have forgiven me and we are moving forward in our private lives. I am a flawed human being with feet of clay and I take complete responsibility for my actions, both public and private. I ask the people of Darlington County for their forgiveness and hope they will judge me on my record as Sheriff.”
Ummmm … okay.
Byrd is the subject of a wrongful termination lawsuit filed in 2012 by former Darlington Sheriff’s lieutenant Mike Hall, who alleges he was fired as part of Byrd’s effort to cover-up his affair with his assistant, Kristan Jeffords. A trial in Hall’s lawsuit is set to begin in July.