Howlett to step down next week as Mathews sheriff

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Nov 22, 2011 - 05:56 PM

Mathews Sheriff Danny Howlett has announced his intention to retire from his position as of Dec. 1, a month before he was scheduled to leave office after losing his bid for reelection to incoming sheriff Mark Barrick. Captain Sid Foster will take over his duties and, as interim sheriff, be responsible for assisting Barrick during the turnover period.

Howlett said he had two reasons for retiring before the end of his term. First, he wanted to retire with the title "sheriff" intact, and since state employees can only retire on the first of any month, that meant Dec. 1. "If I waited, I wouldn’t be a retired sheriff," he said. "That’s a title nobody can take from you."

Second, Howlett said he wanted Barrick to learn the ropes from "the people doing the job every day" so they could all build a relationship together without the distraction and discomfort of having both sheriffs in the office at the same time. He said he had seen the uncertainty among staff members during the turnover period with former sheriff Hugh Jordan, and had felt it was difficult for them.

"Mr. Barrick will come in to train with Sid and with administrative assistant Christy Walker," said Howlett. "He’ll learn dispatch from Mary Ewell and civil process from Gene Goin. He’ll actually be taught by the people doing the job every day … The staff won’t be guided by me, and they’ll be able to talk one-on-one, freely."