Former sheriff’s Capt. Donna Tompkins, who sued Sheriff John Darr for gender discrimination in 2013 and won, formally announced her candidacy for sheriff of Muscogee County today.
In a speech delivered on the Plaza Level of the Government Center, two floors below the Sheriff’s Office, Tompkins said that the time has come for a change in the office.
“We all know that there needs to be a change, and I’m that I’m the person who is best prepared to make that change,” Tompkins said. “There are considerable problems facing this sheriff’s office. Budget overspending, lawsuits, scandals, all of this has resulted in a diminished public confidence in the sheriff’s office.”
We all know that there needs to be a change, and I’m that I’m the person who is best prepared to make that change.
Donna Tompkins, candidate for sheriff
Tompkins, who worked for 31 years for the office, rising from a civilian Recorders Court clerk to the rank of captain before retiring in March to seek the office.
She cited Darr’s consistent over-spending of his budget, which she said is on track to be $13 million over the last eight years, Darr’s lawsuit against the city (along with three other elected officials) that has cost taxpayers more than $1.8 million and his recent testimony in federal court, seeking leniency in the sentencing of a felon convicted of defrauding the Internal Revenue Service.
”This person defrauded the United States government, and therefore you, the taxpaying citizens, of $1.3 million,” Tompkins said. “So, to put it simply, I am running for sheriff of Muscogee County because we absolutely cannot afford four more years of this administration.”
In December of 2013, the city settled a three-year lawsuit filed against Sheriff John Darr by Tompkins and Joan Wynn, then lieutenants in the Sheriff’s Office. They alleged gender discrimination because Darr promoted a male lieutenant, who they claimed was less qualified, to captain.
The city agreed to pay the two women a lump sum of $265,000 to settle the lawsuit. The judge in the suit ordered the city to pay $272,000 in legal fees to the women’s lawyers.
Tompkins will face Pam Brown in the Democratic Primary on May 24. The winner will face Mark LaJoye, the lone Republican in the field, and Darr, who is expected to qualify as an independent.