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Sobieraski would have brought needed change to Sheriff’s Office

Posted 4 July 2019 at 9:35 am

Editor:

I’d like to commend the 49 percent of Republican voters that took the time to research both candidates for Orleans County sheriff and turned out to vote in the June 25 Primary. To the other 51 percent of active Republican voters, you’ve squandered a great opportunity.

Four years ago the people that so adamantly backed the current sheriff said experience didn’t matter. They said the sheriff is nothing more than a figurehead. They preached that operational, budgetary, training and personnel oversight were not essential qualities needed by an elected official running the largest law enforcement agency in the county.

Now, the song has changed. Those same people now shout that experience is important, but only if it was obtained in Orleans County. So why the sudden change? In 2015 they had a candidate that spent his entire career legitimately rising through the ranks in the OCSO, but he couldn’t get union endorsements. In fact, sworn members of the department worked tirelessly to ensure that Tommy Drennan not get elected in 2015. Why did his experience not count?

Maybe it’s not that Tommy Drennan and Brett Sobieraski’s experience didn’t count, but either of them winning was too damaging to department “insiders.” Maybe the “insiders” in the department don’t want accountability and fair management. Maybe they don’t want their personal gains to be hindered by a boss that will do the right thing. And maybe they don’t want promotions to be based on merit, hard work and a good personnel record.

Voters should be astonished to see a patrol deputy with no supervisory experience get catapulted from a regular beat cop to the 3rd in command of the entire agency. That type of thing doesn’t happen in functional police agencies. Nearly everywhere else, being part of a command staff requires some type of prior promotion, proven leadership, or advanced education. But we’re talking about the OCSO, where campaigning for the winner will likely get you promoted. Sure, one could argue who gets appointed to higher command positions is at the will of the sheriff, regardless of experience.

Sadly the OCSO reeks of a political cesspool riddled with insider trading, an A-team vs. B-team work environment, quid pro quo backroom dealings, where personal prosperity takes precedent over the job itself. The chance to fix all of that might be gone because the beneficiaries of a Sobieraski loss told the voters who they needed at the helm. The last place you want politics and a “self before team” mentality is in law enforcement. It’s time for change.

Nearly half of the voters on primary day acknowledge the type of leadership, character and personality that Brett Sobieraski would have brought to a department that desperately needs a change.  They aren’t wrong, and the hope of Brett for Sheriff doesn’t need to end with the Primary.

Some people may say this a sour grapes letter. Maybe, but those people also know I’m right.

There is one last chance to effect change and get your Sheriff’s Office back on track Orleans County. Write Brett Sobieraski on your ballot in November.

Todd Smith

Churchville, formerly of Holley