CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. - In July, Camden County Sheriff Tommy Gregory survived a tough primary election against former Camden Sheriff Bill Smith.
But Gregory lost his re-election bid Tuesday night to Jim Proctor, a former Sheriff's Office employee and one who says Gregory tried to dismiss him in 2008.
When Gregory defeated Smith in 2008, Proctor said Gregory came in and cleaned house.
"The actual description he used was he was getting rid of the 'bad apples,'" Proctor said.
He said he was considered one of those "bad apples" in Gregory's eyes. Proctor stayed employed with the Sheriff's Office, but said he was demoted from major to court bailiff. Now, Proctor is getting use to a new title: Sheriff-elect.
He defeated Gregory 53 percent to 46 percent, out of the more than 17,000 votes cast, making Gregory a one-term sheriff.
Now the Sheriff's Office, which has been handicapped by budget cuts, is in Proctor's hands.
"I don't know what I'm walking into. That's part of what Tommy and I are going to sit down and discuss," Proctor said of the budget and potential layoff concerns. "I have no idea where the budget stands at this point."
For years, Gregory complained about overcrowding at his jail and lobbied the county for a new jail. But Proctor said a new jail is not on his agenda.
"I believe it's a major issue that's got to be looked at, but we've also got to be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers," Proctor said. "I'm not sure if we have to have a new jail right now or if there are things that can be done with the existing jail."
Does Proctor have his own "bad apples" in his eyes and the mentality it's his department and he wants to clean house and bring in his own people?
"No. No. Everybody that's over there needs to rest assured that I'm not going in with that mentality," he said.
Calls and texts to Gregory went unanswered Wednesday. Employees at the Sheriff's Office said Gregory was out of the office and unavailable.
Proctor will be sworn into office in December.
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