Removal of former sheriff James Metts’ name from Lexington County’s law enforcement complex started shortly after it was ordered Tuesday.
County Council members unanimously agreed to take the name off the office and jail on the west edge of the town of Lexington that the now-disgraced Metts oversaw for nearly 42 years as the county’s top lawman.
It also will come off roadside signs directing motorists to the facility.
Removal at the complex began soon after the nine council members decided Tuesday it should be erased immediately, county administrator Joe Mergo said.
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The step follows Metts’ guilty plea to a federal charge stemming from interference in the handling of two illegal immigrants in 2011 at the jail.
Removal of his name is a change promised by county leaders, after goodwill that led to naming the complex for him in 2007 evaporated.
Metts’ actions “put a cloud over our county,” council chairman Johnny Jeffcoat said. “This is something we need to do.”
The facility will be known simply as the county law enforcement complex.
County officials will explore recovering the cost of removal from what they said were donors who paid to place Metts’ name on the complex.
Council members also will look at a proposed ban on naming public facilities after any living person to prevent a recurrence of such embarrassment.
Metts’ name is also on a boat landing on the lower Saluda River near his home. Its future is up to county lawmakers who have yet to decide what to do.
But Rep. Rick Quinn, whose district includes the landing, said it’s likely to be taken off there as well, now that county leaders have done it elsewhere.
“I’m sure we’ll follow suit,” the Lexington Republican said Tuesday.