Francis retiring at end of term

Published 11:04 am Friday, April 8, 2011

COURTLAND—Southampton County Sheriff Vernie W. Francis Jr. will not seek re-election this year.

“It’s been my honor to serve the people of Southampton County and the City of Franklin for the past 28 years,” Francis said in a news release on Friday. “The time has come to start a new chapter in my life, therefore I will not seek re-election for the office of sheriff.”

He will complete his current four-year term at the end of the year and retire on Jan. 1.

Francis could not be reached for additional comment.

No one has picked up a packet or filed to run for sheriff in the November election, said Leona Davis, the county’s registrar of voters. The job pays $85,000 annually.

Candidates would need to get 125 signatures on a petition; packets for running are available at the Voter Registration Office.

The sheriff serves as chief law enforcement officer for a county and is generally active in the criminal justice system through law enforcement, the courts and corrections.

Nineteen sheriffs have served in the county since 1854. Francis has served since being elected in 1984.