Warning: Lawsuits put Taxpayers at Risk
John Taft Investigative Reporter
Introduction: Josephine County, Oregon is a microcosm of what takes place when the wrong people assume political office in the counties, towns, and great cities across the United States. The faces are different, the incidents will vary, but the arrogance remains the same.
GRANTS PASS, Oregon -- A 10 million-dollar budget and less police protection are the result of the election of the current sheriff of Josephine County. Here’s the story: Former District Attorney Tim Thompson warned voters in a letter to the editor of the Daily Courier in October, 1998, that Dave Daniel was not the man to elect sheriff. The voters ignored this professional advice from inside the criminal justice system and put Daniel into office, a man, who offered soothing words and worthless fluff for the voter’s consumption. To get the job Daniel told the hungry voters the big whopper, that he could do the job without asking for more money and the voters swallowed this swill. Daniel has since been a proven violator of his campaign promises. In the past six years his budget has nearly doubled. Daniel has an unquenchable thirst for tax dollars, spending, and promoting and hiring his friends.
Lawsuits may be Sheriff Daniel’s Halloween Hobgoblins
Another threat to the county’s taxpayers is developing in a vacuum behind closed doors and silence with at least two lawsuits filed against the county. These lawsuits are like a pair of powerful storms containing high winds that could hit the county with devastating economic effects. Former JOINT (drugs) Sgt. Carroll Huffman was allegedly demoted for supporting Sgt. Ron Goodpasture, a candidate attempting to knock Dave Daniel out of the Sheriff’s Office in the last election. Huffman has reportedly filed a seven-figure lawsuit against the county, and there are tens of thousands of dollars that will be paid by the loser for attorney fees. The second devastating storm on track to hit Josephine County is a lawsuit by former Deputy Wayne Dykes against both Daniel and the county. It’s alleged that Sheriff Daniel fired Dykes because Dykes met with Commissioner Jim Brock to discuss ways to improve the sheriff’s office and save money. The meeting was held at Brock’s request. Again the sums against the county could blow in at seven figures if the case goes to a jury. If the case is settled out of court, the numbers could drop into the six-figure zone, still a large sum to be partially paid out of the sheriff’s budget. A loss by the county would require more money for the sheriff’s office to maintain the same level of previous police services. Dykes’ and Huffman’s lawsuits go to federal mediation on October 19th in Eugene before a federal mediator in the federal courthouse. The three Josephine county commissioners will be there along with attorneys from both sides, and the federal mediator will attempt to reach a settlement with the litigants at this time. October 19th looms as a possible early Halloween that could haunt Daniel as long as he lives in Josephine County. If Dykes and Huffman win a large settlement, Daniel would certainly be ripe for plucking from his pumpkin patch.
Does Josephine County Need Two Sheriffs
Daniel is not an administrator; at best it appears he should be doing custodial work at the courthouse. He’s more akin to a little boy with big eyes, drooling in a candy shop, who told whoppers and got elected to a job way over his head. The pressure of the sheriff’s office seems to have been too much for Daniel as he recently broke and appointed Lt. Brian Anderson as Under Sheriff. Daniel is showing the stress of the job with his rapidly graying hair, balding, and a paunch. There is no question in the mind of many folks that Anderson is smarter and will make a better administrator. The Cost? Daniel, whom many deputies and others believe is unneeded again sticks the taxpayers for more money to do the job. The taxpayers are now supporting two sheriffs, at around $160,000 annually for both. Little wonder Daniel wants more money. If the commissioners and voters are foolish enough to give him more money, he’ll probably remodel his office again, this time in teak and ebony.
Josephine County a Fool’s Paradise
The sad story is that neither lawsuit needed to have happened. Meanwhile, Josephine County is in the calm before the storm and it’s business as usual. Sheriff Daniel is attempting to gain support for a jail levy. Two commissioners will be elected this fall, and Daniel, the acting Godfather, has endorsed and blessed Jim Rathernburg, and Dwight Ellis for this office with the smooch of death. Daniel strongly backed a change of county government from a home rule charter to a county manager. This was turned down by about 2/3 of the voters. Like Daniel, both candidates are bad news for Josephine County. The Daily Courier has had little to say on the lawsuits of recent times and of the potential impact these lawsuits could have on the operation of the sheriff’s office and public safety, if lost. The public has a right to know a storm is coming and how it could impact this community. This election is the time to say "NO" to all new property taxes for the jail, turn thumbs down on Daniel’s candidates, and hang on to your pockets books folks, if you can.
The above article appeared on http://www.strobezone.homestead.com John Taft can be e-mailed at email@example.com