Do as I say, not as I do
The tip line, firstname.lastname@example.org, is finally starting to light up.
This time the comments have been about the Sheriff’s race and some interesting insight provided by the Gainesville Times. The Gainesville Times reported that the rules were changed to allow Strickland to run with the Sheriff’s permission.
The anonymous tipster asked me to look into case of Officer Carlton Speed. According to the e-mail, Officer Speed decided to run for Banks County Sheriff back in 2008. It seems that Officer Speed had to resign from office and after losing by 276 votes; he returned to Hall County with a demotion to a lower rank.
I have been told by another tipster that there are others in the department that would like to run, but they do not think that they will be able to get the Sheriff’s blessing. While I could not find the Sheriff’s department policies on the internet, I can locate the Hall County code and the ethics ordinance. Hall County Code- 22.214.171.124, Political recrimination and activity, says; “No county commissioner, official or employee, whether elected or appointed, shall either cause the dismissal or threaten the dismissal from any county position as reward or punishment for any political activity.” The question becomes, what can the Sheriff or his eventual replacement do if someone decides to run for the office? I guess demotions and transfers are legitimate retaliations.
It is true that competition has benefits and consequences. The public is the winner when they can choose from a group of qualified candidates the best person to represent them; however, there is something to be said about the aftermath if a lot of deputies run for Sheriff and the hard feelings that could be in the workplace once the election is over. I have to believe that the benefits outweigh the consequences. Adam Smith said, “Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man or order of men.” While this quote was applied to economics, I think it can also be used for politics and I say the Sheriff should step aside and let anyone who wants to insert his industry and capital into the race. I do not like the handpicked man approach; it lessons our democracy.
The question of fairness and potential impropriety does need to be addressed. Should the person running for office be the one on T.V. taking credit for everything that happens in the office? How much free press does this provide? The Gainesville Times reported that the Colonel got his campaign off to a rough start by having the Sheriff’s office number on his campaign web page; I can only hope that the Col. will be able to separate his campaign activity from his duties going forward.
Hugh Hall County Akston