CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County is looking into whether it will reprimand Sheriff Kristin Graziano after leaders there say she failed to properly execute a contract for a bid.
Sheriff Graziano signed a contract with Mila Consulting, LLC in January 2022 and paid the firm more than $15,000 for consultation services including language access, special projects, and out-of-pocket expenses.
It’s something the county’s director of contracts and procurement, Barrett J. Tolbert, said was inappropriately signed by Sheriff Graziano and did not meet a requirement to receive three outside quotes for a contract bid.
In a March 8th letter to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and Graziano, Tolbert said: “This procurement does not meet the criteria for sole source/non-competitive procurement and two additional quotes for services should have been obtained to complete the process.”
The county said it is working to determine what corrective and disciplinary action will be taken against Sheriff Graziano, including potential monetary fines.
In an interview with News 2 last month, Sheriff Graziano said she contracted the firm to develop training and changes within CCSO.
Something she said comes after learning people within the community have avoided calling 911 for help in the past due to the lack of trust or inability to communicate with those responding to calls.
“What the needs are in the community, what their (deputy’s) needs are to do their job in the community in these low English or limited English speaking communities and how we can do better,” said Sheriff Graziano at the time.
She said a goal for the sheriff’s office was to overhaul its communication with the public.
The contract with Mila Consulting is set to expire on September 20th, 2022.
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office sent News 2 the following statement:
“This contract did not go through the county procurement process as the funds came directly from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office budget. CCSO routinely submits to the process when a contract would call for a commitment of funds directly from Charleston County’s budget. This contract remains in effect and fulfills the need to begin addressing issues related to underserved minority communities. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in programs that receive federal funds. The Sheriff’s Office receives federal grant funding and is committed to providing equal access to its law enforcement services to all community members. This effort will help identify ways in which we can do better and fully comply with Title VI.”
In an update Thursday afternoon, Charleston County released a statement to News 2 saying the letter stands on its own and that there would be no future comments on the situation. When asked, they did not shut down the notion of a possible reprimand.