JoCo’s Million Dollar Sheriff Exposed
A Message to Sheriff Dave Daniel: You’re a Clever Politician, but a Bad Sheriff.
By Investigative Reporter John Taft
GRANTS PASS, Oregon (Nov.29, 02) - For shame, Sheriff Dave Daniel, you did it again. You allowed your name and title of sheriff to be included in an ad in the Grants Pass Daily Courier dated Oct. 30, 02, promoting another tax on family homes for a new park taxing district. Was this done with your permission, or was it another oversight as when you supported Judge J. Lloyd O’Neal during his attempted recall? At the time you were reportedly asked to sign a recall petition, and your response was, "Jack, you know I can’t do that; I have to remain neutral." Well, you didn’t remain neutral long; your elected title and name soon appeared in the local daily newspaper supporting Judge O’Neal. When I asked you about using your sheriff’s title, you told me you didn’t give your permission. Then when I asked why you didn’t put an ad in the newspaper saying it was a mistake you replied, "It really doesn’t matter." You appear to believe that that your title of sheriff is to be used whenever it can gain you some political advantage. As sheriff, isn’t it your duty to be nonpartisan and serve all the residents of Josephine County? I guess I just don’t understand the twists and turns of politics.
Voters Ignore Daniel’s Endorsement
This time when the votes were counted on November 5, 2002, the voters ignored your support of the park taxing district and all the other levies (excluding the Illinois Valley Fire District Levy) on the ballot. In fact, 69 percent of the voters ignored your recommendation for a yes vote for more taxes. That really must have bothered you, considering you want a jail taxing district or levy to fund your extravagant desires. In 1997, Sheriff Dan Calvert was hit with severe budget cuts, and in 1998, his budget was $5.9 million. He had to work with limited patrols, detective work wasn’t being done in many instances, and the telephone system was automated. In March of 1998, Calvert went to the budget committee asking for an additional $400,000 to add five road deputies, a clerk, and a jail sergeant. Calvert would make no promises on restoring full patrols without the additional funds. You came on the scene running against Calvert with I’m a can-do candidate for sheriff and I can close the patrol gap without asking for more money. In 1998, there was a story about you in the Daily Courier wanting to restore full service to Josephine County by putting every certified officer, including yourself, in uniform and on the street. You are quoted as saying "And I think, by doing that, there’s no doubt in my mind that we could put the Sheriff’s Office back to being a full-service department, and answering all calls for service." You claimed it wouldn’t be necessary to add deputies, and you could still pull a few off patrols to concentrate on serious crimes. Now you have a budget of about $9.25 million and you would like to run it up to $16.3 million by 2007. That must be why folks are calling you "the million-dollar sheriff." When Dan Calvert called you on your extravagant claims it’s reported you replied, "It’s only politics." Now you claim a lack of funds to protect the public, and yet you have millions more than Calvert had in 1997. It’s easy to come to the conclusion that if you were running against a candidate with the same problems you claim you have today, you would be saying the same things you said when running against Calvert in 1998. After all, Dave, it’s only politics. How’s a guy gonna get elected if he doesn’t fib a little and use a lot of fluff to con the voters?
Why Dave Daniel shouldn’t be elected president of the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association (OSSA)
It’s been reported that you are interested in running for the presidency of the OSSA to represent the organization in the State of Oregon and nationally. If you are indeed a candidate for the presidency of this organization, it would be wise for those who vote to check out the allegations made in this article. I find it difficult to imagine how you could effectively serve this reputable group of the states sheriffs when you have personnel and credibility problems within your own office. When you ran for office in 1998, you attacked the former sheriff by saying, "The sheriff got his budget cut, sure, but you do the best you can with the funds you have to operate any agency. The sheriff only gets a certain amount of money. You do the best you can to continue to serve the citizens of Josephine County with that amount of money." That’s a good statement, but I don’t see your carrying it out. It appears to have been made in the name of politics. And what about your promise prior to getting elected of patrolling the streets yourself to save tax-dollars, Dave? It seems you currently spend far more time politicking, expanding and demanding more tax dollars!
Quickie Quiz for Sheriff
1. What’s the truth about the report that you took your wife, several deputies, and their wives, to the Oregon State Fair to show off the canines (police dogs)? What did this cost, and what were the benefits for county taxpayers? Your personal benefits of going to the state fair are plain to see.
When you took office you changed the uniforms and had all the patrol vehicles repainted. What did that cost taxpayers? That was a needless waste of thousands of taxpayers dollars?
2. Why has your best friend Vernon Lee Harman been promoted three times? In Nov. 01 he was a First Sgt. at $55,036.68 in Nov. 02 he is now a Lt. with an impressive annual salary increase of $4,950.51 to $59,987.19. Why didn’t you put out a press release so the media could share Lt. Harman’s good news with the public?
3. Another good friend of yours Larry V. Michels has been promoted three times. In Nov. 01 his rank was First Sgt. Jail Command and his salary was $47,985.60. In Nov. 02 he held the same rank, but with a nice annual increase of $5,095.99 to $53,081.59. What was the justification for the pay raise, and why wasn’t a press release put out on Michels’ good fortune? Of course you weren’t trying to keep this quiet?
4. Dave, it’s interesting to note that four of the five top people heading departments in your administration signed a boycott against family owned businesses advertising in The Oregon Observer. The following is a list of names and departments: Operations Lt. Brian Anderson, Corrections Lt. Gordon Williams, Office manger Sue Watkins, and Administrative Sergeant 1st. Sgt. Lee Harman. All receive top pay and some have been given alleged special favors as noted in this article. Did those listed get bonus points redeemable as special perks for signing the boycott against The Observer and family businesses? You gave your blessing to the boycott when you were reported as saying, "It sounds like free speech to me." Many sheriffs’ deputies have since renounced the boycott.
5. Dave, it’s been said that you have spent the last four years promoting your friends, enlarging the administration, and laying off working deputies and supervisors. The facts tend to bear out these allegations. Your friends have been promoted, your administration, if not the most expensive one, is one of the larger offices the taxpayers have funded and laying off working deputies and supervisors has happened. So what are you going to do next, besides ask for more money?
6. It’s rumored in public places that you are vigorously working behind the scenes to bypass the present county commissioners with a county manager type government. Some possible reasons could be: Your extreme dislike for County Commissioner Jim Brock who has on occasion refused to approve more funds for you. You believe you and your friends could more easily influence a county manager to support your building a huge money centered sheriff’s department. What’s your point of view on this issue, Dave?
7. What effect is the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) debacle going to have on the sheriff’s department? We all know that the more we spend on employees, the more we must pay into their retirement. According to one high-ranking county official, "PERS is going to bankrupt the county if something isn’t done." Does this concern you Dave?
Sheriff Calls Former DA S.O.B? "Character Counts Dave"
Dave, you allegedly called former DA Tim Thompson a S.O.B. (son of a bitch) when he wrote a letter to the editor claiming you weren’t qualified to be sheriff. A lot of other professional folks don’t think you’re qualified to be sheriff either. Your anger seems to know no bounds when you are discredited. When I asked you about this incident, calling the DA an S.O.B., you invoked selective memory and claimed you didn’t remember saying that. The point is you didn’t deny making the comment about Mr. Thompson. Do you remember the comment you made about a deputy after the candidate’s night at the city council when you reportedly called one of the Sergeants a "S.O.B."? Sometime ago your pastor wrote a letter to the editor of the Courier commenting on your fine character. I wonder if he has counseled you on the use of profanity and anger, or perhaps that doesn’t count in developing character?
"No Time for Sergeants"
When was it that you decided to get rid of the three Sergeants? Was it when they endorsed Goodpasture for sheriff, or before? Your trying to get rid of these Sergeants backfired and left stains on your uniform that won’t come clean. For Observer readers, here is what happened. Sgt. Lee Harman got a pay raise of about $400 a month when the sheriff waved his magic wand at him. You are now a Lieutenant you proclaimed. I’ll bet he’s a big supporter of yours like Lt. Brian Anderson. The sergeants were first demoted then you reversed position and promoted them to where they were before being demoted. Now, there is a crooked path to follow. The Sheriff’s Employee’s Association (union) is out $4,700 in arbitration that didn’t go anywhere. That must have irritated the dues paying deputies. No points there for you.
The county paid Adkin Blitz, an expensive attorney from Portland, Oregon $22,536.61 for his services to help straighten out your mess. All this because you desperately want personal loyalty (kowtow deputies) and didn’t like the way some sergeants were going to vote for sheriff and objected to their exercising their first amendment rights? What a switch from the time you were quoted in the Courier as saying, "It sounds like free speech to me" when some deputies launched a boycott against family businesses advertising in The Oregon Observer. It looks like former DA Thompson had it right all along. He thought you just weren’t qualified to run the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Daniel and the $20,000 that left town
Dave, you have a penchant for blowing hard earned taxpayer dollars then soliciting the commissioners and the public for more money? I wonder if the public knows about Steve Kent of "Results Group Inc." from Hood River, Oregon? You paid for the services of Mr. Kent to teach you to be a manager and it didn’t work. You remind me of the old adage, "You can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear." After paying Kent for a year and a half, you stopped his services. You reportedly didn’t use any of Kent’s suggestions. If you didn’t like Kent’s advice why did you wait a year and a half before doing anything about it? You reportedly spent an amount around $20,000. You may be a good cop as purported by a former wife of yours, but a lot of folks will dispute that. The fact is you’re not a good manager judging by the funds you have allowed to slip away into oblivion. You’re not the person to run a multimillion-dollar sheriff’s office and you no doubt know this. I suppose it’s hard to turn down $90,000 a year in salary, benefits, and authority over others.
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to the Olympics We Go
In February of this year, Dave, you took six deputies off the force and shipped them over to the Olympics in Utah from February 8th through the 26th. One would think this would cause a problem in keeping the county secure and investigations up to date. But you told folks not to worry because February was a slow month. Maybe every month is a slow month if it serves your purpose? The cost of each deputy sent would amount to 19 days each times 6 for a total of 114 days of services lost to the residents of Josephine County. That’s a lot of investigations that weren’t covered, security patrols that weren’t there, and calls that weren’t answered in a timely manner. The cost when figuring low was $20,425.00 for salaries. In addition, there was the cost of airfare to and from the Olympics. All this money came from property taxes, grants, and other sources. Dave, you donated taxpayer dollars to a money-making organization called the Olympics. One can certainly admire your generous gesture with other folks’ money, however that money should have been used for the security of Josephine County. Dave, you seem to have no concept of economy; you’re wasting thousand and thousands of taxpayers dollars. In an editorial, Daily Courier Editor Dennis Roler wrote, "Sheriff gets no gold for money management." Roler put the ball straight down the alley for a solid strike when he wrote, "It’s the fact the sheriff chose to spend local taxpayer money to protect strangers when facing a huge budget deficit that, has hurt his case."
$$$ Sergeant Huffman out on Disability $$$
Sergeant Carol Huffman, an able and reputable deputy in the narcotics division, was one of the victims in your failed attempt to get rid of all the targeted sergeants. In regards to the S.O. B. comments and other issues he has filed a lawsuit against you for a reported $500,000 and a $1,000,000 suit against the county. Huffman is no longer working due a 100 percent medical stress disability, reportedly something that should never have happened. The alleged result of your actions is that the county taxpayers will be paying large sums of money to maintain the worker compensation claim and resolve this issue. In addition the taxpayers get stuck with the litigation bills, win or lose The taxpayers always lose, but even more so when bad managers are in charge.
Sheriff Mute on Randy Lucas Encounter
The following are portions of an e-mail I sent to you, Dave, and there was no response from you: "I had an interesting encounter with Deputy Randy Lucas this morning, 10-15-02. As a reporter for The Oregon Observer I was copying down the names of the sheriff deputies and city police department officers who were in the courtroom. I looked at a name badge with Lucas printed on it. Upon recognizing the name Lucas I said, "Good morning, Randy." His response was to make no sound and stare straight ahead with a blank expression on his face as though he was in a trance. I tried again with a friendly, "Hello, Randy." The result was the same. The deputy sitting next to Lucas glanced briefly at him and can verify this incident. I believe his name was Deputy Burke."
"Now, as I it see, there may be two explanations. One: He may have a problem that needs to be evaluated. Two: Maybe Mr. Lucas really hates me for some unknown reason. If so, since Mr. Lucas is a public employee of Josephine County I expect an explanation for this bizarre behavior and an apology from Mr. Lucas. He represents the Sheriff’s Office and he does carry a gun and a badge and believe it or not Dave, I am one of his employers."
I received neither an explanation on Lucas’ strange behavior from you Dave, nor an apology from Lucas. Anytime a deputy behaves or acts in an unconventional manner he attracts attention and that attention is then focused back on you, the sheriff. It’s interesting what an investigation can reveal. This one issue is a damning indictment of Dave Daniel’s Sheriff Administration. Developing…
Daniel has Plenty of Money and Deputies, Look at the Facts
How is it that you took Lt. Brian Anderson off duty for three months and sent him to the FBI school at Quantico, Virginia? I thought you were short of deputies. If the sheriff’s office were short of deputies, then you wouldn’t have sent Anderson to the academy. At the time Anderson’s salary was $4,858.53 a month. That adds up to at least $14,575.59 for the three months at school. Dave, The Oregon Observer challenges you to prove that Anderson is more valuable to the sheriff’s office now than he was before he went to the FBI school. Were there other expenses the county paid? After going to the FBI school Anderson now gets another $400 a month bringing his new monthly salary up to $5,258.93 plus benefits. Again, why did you pick Anderson to go the FBI school? Is he one of the select group of deputies that supports you, and was this a way of rewarding him for his loyalty? Did you ask him to sign a loyalty oath? It appears you are neither short of deputies or money, and if you really are short of both, then it’s definitely through mismanagement.
Lt. Anderson is the deputy that helped you cover-up the case of the Road Rage Deputy that was brought to your attention, a couple of years ago. When Corporal Clay Darby, later reduced in rank, was approached with the Road Rage problem he said, "I don’t doubt what you say." When I called Lt. Anderson, he didn’t respond to my three phone calls and was that under your orders Dave? Lt. Anderson’s actions plainly speak for themselves. This may help explain the tasty plum he pulled out of the taxpayer pie.
A House Built of Straw
The lack of confidence many deputies have in you is astounding, and this has been documented in the local newspaper. A story appeared in the Courier sometime ago about deputies voting no confidence in you. That isn’t surprising when one considers your demand for personal loyalty and the special benefits, including promotions and pay raises, given to those who are willing to kowtow to show their loyalty. The issues that we have discussed in this article should be aired in the light of day. Instead you are stuffing these problems into dark holes and sitting on them, perhaps thinking no one will notice. You certainly have qualified as a clever politician, actually a great politician with all the shenanigans going on in the sheriff’s office, and with your hand out in a never-ending request for more money. No matter how much money you get you will never have enough. You have never offered documented proof of the efficiency of your office by an accredited agency. What became of the can-do candidate who ran in 1998, who could run the sheriff’s department on available funds?
You once said, "The primary duty of any law enforcement agency is to protect and serve the public." You’re not supposed to serve yourself first. It does seem you are being served very well, costing the taxpayers $90,000 annually to manage the sheriff’s office. As outlined in this article, the sheriff’s office has too many problems of your creation. You have lost the trust of The Oregon Observer, which you had when you originally ran for office. You figured out long ago what all-good politicians know-that if you made lots of promises you could get elected, and it worked. But, you have built a straw house on empty promises and weak supports. The rains of revelation have come and you are getting wet, your house of promises is collapsing revealing what once was hidden. It would be best for the community if you voluntarily stepped aside allowing a better-qualified man to repair the problems that are fragmenting the cohesiveness of the sheriff’s office. It’s time to reestablish public confidence in the leadership of the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.
John Taft can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org This article will be posted on StrobeZone http://www.strobezone.homestead.com