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This profile was last updated on 1/21/03  and contains information from public web pages.
 
Background

Employment History

  • President
    Cumberland County Young Democratic Club
  • Next Sheriff
    Cumberland County
  • Cumberland Clerk of Court

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • County Clerk of Court
    The Cumberland
  • Member
    Beta Club

Education

  • bachelor's degree
6 Total References
Web References
Fayetteville Online
www.fayettevillenc.com, 21 Jan 2003 [cached]
Jan. 20, 1968: Tommy Griffin, Cumberland County Young Democratic Club president, is selected North Carolina's "Top Young Democrat" at the North Carolina Young Democratic Club meeting.
Jan. 19, 1968: Ground is broken for the new Moore County library at Carthage.
Jan. 23, 1968: The new Cumberland County dog pound, built near the sewage treatment plant on U.S. 301, has been completed.
Jan. 24, 1968: Leeward Alford, keeper of the zoo for the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department, retires after 19 years of service with the city.
50 YEARS AGO
Fayetteville Online
www.fayettevillenc.com, 8 Sept 2002 [cached]
Tommy Griffin focused on bringing changeFayetteville Online
Sunday, Sep 8, 2002
P/CLOUDY68°
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Tommy Griffin focused on bringing change
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Tommy Griffin is so absorbed in trying to become Cumberland County's next sheriff that his younger brother often finds him difficult to be around these days.
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Tommy Griffin talks with families in Eastover as they head to the Eastover Community Center for dinner.
Griffin is forever analyzing the issues and the numbers, looking for the chinks in Sheriff Moose Butler's armor.
Since his campaign began, it has taken little prompting to get Griffin to talk about the sheriff's budget, the new jail, the bomb squad or the school crossing guards.
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Then and now, Tommy has always been the responsible Griffin, his brother said.Tommy Griffin was the good athlete.The hard worker.The honor-roll student.The college graduate.The Cumberland County clerk of court.
Growing up, the Griffins' home life forced Tommy to become mature before his time.Just three years older than Stan, Tommy had to assume the role of father figure at an early age.
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A week before election day, Tommy Griffin speaks to voters in Eastover, promising to increase the number of deputies in the area without increasing the sheriff's budget.
A cornfield served as their yard, a pot-bellied stove their only source of indoor heat.They boiled water on the stove and used an outhouse for a bathroom.The two boys and their sister shared one of the two bedrooms.
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Their late father, Thomas Lawrence Griffin, joined the Army in 1929 and switched to the Air Force in 1948.Tommy Griffin said his father never earned much.
When Tommy was about 10 years old, his father paid $200 for a lot in Drake Park and $400 for an old Army mess hall that he had moved onto the lot.The mess hall became their new home.
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At age 12, Tommy Griffin assumed the role of head of the household, working long, hard hours in a tobacco field to help make ends meet, his brother said.
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"I often said that she could snatch that prop up and hit me with it two times before the window would fall," Tommy Griffin said.
Griffin loved and respected his mother and believes her spankings helped mold him.He thinks more parents should try it.
"I think the world would be a lot better off," Griffin said."I knew what she expected."
One thing she expected was for her eldest son to obey a 10:30 p.m. curfew.When Griffin came in late during his high school years, his mother would just take one long look at her watch.She no longer used a window prop, but her children knew better than to disappoint her.
Her disciplinary techniques paid off.Griffin said he never missed a day in his last eight years at the old Seventy-First School.He said his sister, Nina Mae, went even longer without missing a day.
Griffin said he always made the honor roll at Seventy-First and was a member of the Beta Club.
He also played basketball and was a standout on the school's baseball team.He went on to play American Legion baseball, a first baseman on a team that was the state runner-up in 1957.
That same year, Griffin would head off to East Carolina University, a 17-year-old with nothing more than a few shirts and a couple of pairs of $7.88 blue jeans from JCPenney.
Griffin said he baby-sat his landlord's child to afford a place to stay.But he wasn't happy.He said he felt inferior to the other students, most of whom had so much more.
"I was not a part of the in crowd at all, I think is the terminology that would be used today," he said.
After five quarters, Griffin decided to pack it in and head back home.He held several jobs in Fayetteville, including delivering newspapers, pumping gas at Hodge's Esso and working at a printing company.
By age 20, he had also married, a union that dissolved within a year.
"It shouldn't have happened," Griffin said."I was just trying to replace Mama, I guess.I have no idea."
His mother died in 1960 after making Griffin promise her that he would finish college.
Two years later - while Griffin was working at the gas station to put himself through Pembroke State University - Joe Raynor approached Griffin with an offer.
...
Griffin was a good friend of Raynor's nephews.He asked Griffin to become bookkeeper for the new clerk.
Griffin acknowledges that he knew nothing about bookkeeping when he accepted the job at age 22.He said he got through it by trial and error and help from experienced bookkeepers.
As he learned the trade at the courthouse, he continued to put himself through Pembroke State, earning a bachelor's degree in 1967.
He had also been taking courses through the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill and had become entrenched with officials who oversaw the court system statewide.In 1968, Griffin said, they offered him a job with a fancy title, supervisor of clerks of Superior Court.
Three years earlier, the General Assembly had approved the court reform act of 1965, which would lead to the merger of all courts under one umbrella.
Griffin would take a leading role in making the merger successful.He said he traveled to every courthouse in the state at least three times in those years.
...
The county found itself looking for a new clerk, and Griffin fit the bill.
The state's Democratic Executive Committee nominated Griffin to the position, and he beat the Republican nominee in an election.It was his only contested race in 29 years as clerk of court.
In those 29 years, Griffin oversaw a clerk system that went from pencils and ledger sheets to computers.Often, he allowed his office to be used as a guinea pig, testing the latest advances and improvements.
Griffin proudly points out that his office was the first to get electronic cash registers, the first to have a drive-through window, the first to process electronic law enforcement tickets.
In 1988, Franklin Freeman, then the administrator of the General Courts of Justice in Raleigh, said Griffin had gained the reputation as one of the top clerks in North Carolina.
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"Griffin has been in the forefront of all 100 clerks in making use of the newest technologies and in being the pilot county for us in Raleigh to try out some automation projects," Freeman said at the time.
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Of all his accomplishments, Griffin seems most pleased with the event that happened on March 12, 1982: The day the office became fully automated.
His office was a week behind Wake County in getting approval for an automated clerk's system.Griffin said he made a commitment to himself to beat Wake in getting the system operating.He made a new work schedule in which employees were set to work weekends.
But Griffin said he never used any weekend overtime.He didn't have to.His office became first without it.Griffin credits his staff.
"I wasn't a rules person," he said."Didn't care how you wore your hair, what color it was.I had you there to do your job, and that's what I expected you to do."
Running for sheriff
Griffin retired last year as clerk and shortly afterward announced that he would run for sheriff.He and Denny Davis became the Democratic challengers to Butler.
Griffin wasn't looking for a raise: the clerk's job he left paid $113,000 a year, $6,000 more than the sheriff makes.At age 62, Griffin could easily have spent more time enjoying one of the great loves of his life - NASCAR - but decided he wasn't ready to leave politics just yet.
Griffin became a NASCAR junkie about 1955, after his uncles took him to the races at the old Champion Speedway on U.S. 301.
"I got so involved in it, it's almost like a disease," he said.In 1985, Griffin attended 21 races in a 28-race Winston Cup schedule.
Just before Richard Petty retired in 1992, Griffin bought every Petty souvenir he could find.Bottles, cards, die-cast cars.Whatever was commemorating the king.
Meet the other side of Tommy G
Joint News Conference, and "e-Citation" demonstration
www.nccrimecontrol.org, 16 Mar 2000 [cached]
"This is almost a dream come true for me," Cumberland Clerk of Court Tommy Griffin said about the new e-Citations.
Fayetteville Online
www.fayettevillenc.com, 4 Sept 2002 [cached]
I can think of no one more qualified to be sheriff of Cumberland County than Tommy Griffin.He has shown that he has exactly the experience needed.
Griffin is a shining star in our all too often dim county government sky.
Let us all vote on Sept. 10 and vote wisely.
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Cobb stated that Griffin was recognized as being one of best clerks in the country.
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Did this information come from Griffin or a fortune cookie?
Cobb also stated that few people knew Griffin was an effective businessman.
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Give us examples of how Griffin is an effective businessman.
Cobb states his vote is for Griffin.
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If Griffin is so good, why not hire him in Norfolk?What bothers most of us about Griffin is that he is constantly slinging criticism, but always has his facts distorted.For example, he said Butler used budget money to purchase a pair of Jet Skis.The money was funded with drug forfeiture money, not tax dollars.If Griffin can't get that little fact right, how does he expect to run the Sheriff's Office?If Griffin wants our vote, why doesn't he tell us why we should vote for him?We never hear Griffin say, "If you elect me this is my plan."Experience has proven if a person is always blaming someone else, it is hard to vote for them.Can we trust someone who constantly slings mud?If it isn't broken, why try to fix it?
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The only person being attacked is Tommy Griffin.We finally have a person who is doing his homework.He has not misled or misinformed the public at all about our budget.I researched what he has said and found it to be true.He is not trying to make the incumbent look bad.He is letting the public know what needs to be known.
Butler has been told where his problem is, but he has chosen not to replace that person.That could have been done early on in this race.
Remember, Butler was a probation officer when he became sheriff and he had to learn what to do as the sheriff, so let's not use law experience in this race.Griffin ran a flawless office for 30 years with no lawsuits and no budget problems.His employees past and present under the new clerk highly respect him.Griffin started e-citation and the automated court system.He brought a lot to the table as the clerk.Now let's give him a chance as the sheriff.
He won my vote by the research I've done.But, one day, I saw him and asked him, "What about blacks and whites and promotions?"He looked at me and said that we are all one color.Promotions are given to those who can get the job done.Fair is fair.
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In a brochure we received in the mail, Griffin talks about a new approach to cut out illegal drugs. (Ha-ha.) What a joke.
If Griffin is misinforming us now, then what are we to expect if he is elected?Before voting, consider each candidates' values and morals, but most of all their honesty.Thank you, Butler, for all you have done for our community.I will continue to keep all of our candidates in my prayers.
A poll commissioned by Tommy ...
www.fayettevillenc.com, 22 July 2002 [cached]
A poll commissioned by Tommy Griffin shows that he narrowly trails Moose Butler in the race for Cumberland County sheriff.
Butler
...
Griffin, who served as the county's clerk of court for 29 years, says he has looked at Butler's record.What it says, Griffin believes, is that the county needs a new sheriff.
‘‘He has not run the Sheriff's Department, and I feel I'm more qualified and capable," Griffin says.
INTERACTIVE
Discuss the issue
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‘‘It's my every intent to be positive," Griffin says.
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But as the challenger, Griffin says he has to look at Butler's record and pounce on areas that concern him.
‘‘If it's true and it's the facts, that's not negative," he says.
As is so often the case in political races, however, facts and truth can become blurred.The challenger will see it one way, the incumbent the other.
Deputies' pay
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Griffin also questions why Butler hired 37 of the 83 deputies allotted for the new jail when the jail has not even opened.
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‘‘Tommy Griffin is wrong that this budget has doubled," Butler says.
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Griffin says 78 employees left the department between October and March of this year.
‘‘The morale is so low down there you could probably take a shovel and dig 10 minutes and not get to the bottom," Griffin says.
That type of war of words has not been heard in public during this campaign since Feb- ruary, just before the filing deadline.
Back then it was Griffin on the defensive, saying Butler's chief deputy, Cuyler Windham, and other high-ranking deputies were spreading false rumors about him.
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‘‘I'm not hear to bash Earl Butler, but I think I have far superior skills," Griffin says.
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Campaign finance reports through June 30 show that Griffin ended the quarter with $93,308 in the bank.He received $131,575 in contributions from individuals and got $2,230 in refunds and reimbursements.
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‘‘If the people want a politician they will vote for Moose or Tommy.
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The poll, conducted by Telephone Strategies Group and North State Research of Raleigh, shows Butler leading the race with 41 percent of the vote to 39 percent for Griffin, 4 percent for Davis and 16 percent undecided.
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‘‘The race is a virtual tie, a dead heat," Jaimey Sexton, president of Telephone Strategies Group, says in a memo to Griffin.‘‘Discussing accountability, responsiveness and new leadership are the keys to the success of this campaign."
Griffin has less than eight weeks to get those messages out.In those weeks, he and Butler say, the campaign will heat up.
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