To the Editor:
Your article regarding the disagreement between our sheriff and the county judge and the public meeting was reasonable and attempted to be objective reporting, even if it neglected to point out that the Emergency Management Services (EMS) position that the county court eliminated, which had a salary of less than $35,000 annually, had produced in excess of $600,000 in grants of equipment for emergency management equipment and planning.
Any competent business person knows that it would be foolish to eliminate a proven income producer and our county court chose to do just that. The ongoing duties and work done by the EMS are those requiring a full-time position and are not an easy task that anyone could take on in addition to their other full-time duties. The sheriff is the highest peace officer in the county and his duties are so extensive and demanding that he seldom has any spare time. Sheriff Palmer did graciously agree to supervise the EMS position and house that position within his office space.
His supervision of the EMS position was excellent, producing the $600,000 in grants to the county and a vitally needed EMS plan. The continually needed updating of the EMS plan, the grant searching and writing and the training duties require a full-time position. The need is so great that the state government has allocated $46,000 available to counties to fund the EMS position. Why did our county court chose to eliminate a proven producing and vital position and attempt to saddle our sheriff with all those EMS duties?
We don't know because the county court has yet to offer a reasonable explanation. The county sheriff is elected by the people of the county for good reason. He serves the people of the county first to protect the people's unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as referred to in both the U.S. and state xonstitutions. The sheriff is subject to the will of "We the People" by their election of him or her to that office. The sheriff must be independent of control or interference of any other government body so all our rights are protected.
When other branches of government attempt to control the sheriff by any means such as reducing his budget it is the duty of the people to stand up and demand that his independence is respected and his office properly funded. I am proud to say the people of Grant County did that at the last public meeting, with 50 persons attending the meeting.
Your June 13 issue had a column by the county judge that you printed without submitting to the Sheriff for his information and use to write, if he so chose, an article presenting his views on the same matter in the same issue, an example of favoritism and biased journalism.
Our system of government is a constitutional republic, as distinguished from a democracy which our founders called "mobcracy." In a democracy, there is no protection of the minority from abuse by even a simple majority. In our republic, we have the chains of our Constitution to bind the government and prevent even a super majority from encroaching on the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of We the People. The sheriff is the implementor of that Constitutional protection. Our rights to religious freedom, freedom of assembly, to keep and bear arms, freedom of the press, to petition for redress of grievances, property, privacy, freedom of travel and even to to make fools of ourselves as long as we don't damage our neighbors or other citizens are in jeopardy when the independence of our elected sheriff is attacked.
David K. Snider