The Register-Herald, Oct. 29, 2002
By: Annette Z. Fox, Register-Herald Reporter
The cost to provide security for Saturday’s hate rally in Fayetteville was $1,908.90. Afterwards, Fayette Sheriff Bill Laird handed the bill to Michael Bryant, who obtained the permit to hold the rally.
Bryant said he wasn’t surprised to have received the invoice, which charges him for overtime expenses.
“The ACLU is taking care of that,” he said, adding it should be the “taxpayer’s responsibility,” before hanging up the phone on a Register-Herald reporter.
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The invoice itemizes salaries and wages of 20 deputies who worked the event at $20 per hour, along with barricade tape purchased for the specific assignment. Overtime expenses amounted to $1,874.40, while the barricade tape cost $34.50.
Laird said Monday that billing an entity for the department’s services is not unusual considering the limited budget provided for overtime expenses.
He said the sheriff’s department charges the Bridge Day Commission each year for providing security, and has had no problem receiving payment. Additionally, Laird said, the department bills other agencies for expenses incurred in assigning personnel for services outside their regular duties.
Laird said the bill was given to Bryant because he was listed as the permit holder for the rally.
Bryant obtained the permit during the summer. The Daniels man initially requested the weekend of Bridge Day but city officials denied it, citing too many activities already scheduled for the nationally-known weekend event.
When first contacted, Bryant said he obtained the permit for a friend, and that he was not a member of the KKK. However, the Rev. Matt Hale last week, leader of the World Church of the Creator, told The Register-Herald that Bryant is a member of both the WCOTC and the Ku Klux Klan.
Sheriff’s deputies – along with Fayetteville Police Department and State Police – were on duty at the rally to ensure safety and security of the event, and to “ensure segregation and separation of opposing opinions and beliefs,” the sheriff noted.
Laird said he believes that special events should not be at the taxpayer’s expense, and whenever possible tries to recoup such costs.