To the Editor;
One of the many offices to be filled this election year is that of the Palo Alto County Sheriff. Several have thrown their hats in the race with varying degrees of qualifications.
With the crowded field of job applicants for Sheriff, we started looking into this area of the election. We focused on the amount of taxes each of us pay and are we getting our monies worth? Is the Sheriff's department giving us quality protection we can count on? Who IS the right man for the job? We personally know 3 out of the 4 candidates and all 4 are good people, I'm sure. So, we had some homework to do. Some of this you may already be aware of, some you may not. We'd like to share our information with you to make an informed 'hiring' decision ensuring we all have the best county-wide protection done efficiently.
Sheriff's Jail budget has tripled in 7 years. WHY?
5 more employees doing less county services. WHY?
9 out of 13 vehicles were bought outside of the county to the tune of $300,000 local tax dollars and in 7 years, why do we need 13 new vehicles. WHY?
COUNTY WIDE (not city, those have been taken on by our local PD) programs such as finger print ID for the kids, farmer equipment ID program, neighborhood watch, vacationers security watch, just to name a few, have been eliminated. WHY?
If you recall, a few years ago when the budgets were tight and the road crews and other county workers agreed on a wage-freeze as long as their benefits weren't touched. The Deputies Union hired an attorney to sue the county for a raise. A mediator stepped in and said that so long as the other county employees were in agreement, the Deputies request was denied and were forced to drop their lawsuit. Appears two of those wanting to sue us are running to be our next Sheriff.
Two deputies that are running for office are not on duty during this time. WHY? We have unlimited overtime going on right now within the sheriff's department. WHY?
When a person calls in about a suspicious car in their area, they are told there is only one deputy on duty and they can't get anyone out there. WHY?
Our sheriff's department has not taken an active role in keeping the county apprised of the "suspicious white van" in our county. The school system and Emmetsburg police department were able to alert the community, along with our local newspaper in getting the word out. WHY?
It is time to hire the most experienced person for the job? Only one of the four candidates can include in his resume' - sixteen years as Sheriff of Palo Alto County. Russ Jergens managed our sheriff's department efficiently and effectively for 16 years and he can do it again. He has a passion for the job and this county. With out-of-control spending and a budget of over $1million a year, we need someone to get our Sheriff's department back under control financially, reinstate county wide services and be accountable to the Palo Alto County taxpayers.
(signed) Mike and Gennifer Scott