July 28, 2007
Tom Greene Responds
In answer to my questionnaire for the candidates running for Snohomish County Sheriff, Tom Greene is the first to respond. John Lovick also said he'll be answering the questions, which I'll post as soon as I receive them. No response yet from Rob Beidler, though I'm sending a follow-up note to him after posting this [UPDATE: Rob emailed me to say he'll be responding too.]
Here are Greene's answers:
1. What in your background makes you uniquely qualified to serve as Sheriff of Snohomish County?
I am the only candidate:
- With 35 years in law enforcement including 17 in uniformed operational assignments such as patrol and traffic enforcement, 5 as a detective including fugitive and homicide investigations and 13 in various administrative roles;
- With a bachelor's degree in criminology and a master's degree in public administration;
- Who has graduated from the FBI National Academy;
- Who has risen through the ranks from deputy sheriff to bureau chief, an executive level position, number three in command at the Sheriff's Office;
- Who has drafted and defended a budget before the County Council;
- Who has bargained a labor agreement from both sides of the table;
- Who has written law enforcement policy on high liability issues such as police pursuits and use of force;
- Who has hired employees, and
- Who has disciplined employees.
Neither of my opponents can say these things yet they are the very credentials city councils look for in selecting a police chief. The Sheriff, by law, is the chief law enforcement officer of the county. Don't the citizens of Snohomish County deserve the same qualifications, experience and credentials?
2. What in your recent public service convinced you that you should serve as Sheriff?
The answer to this question is part of a long history of contemplation and preparation for wherever my career in law enforcement might take me, including becoming a police chief or sheriff. With every assignment and promotion, and the responsibilities that accompanied them, I saw added opportunities to serve my community and grow from the experience. In essence, I have been preparing for this moment my entire career.
In 1995, then County Executive Bob Drewel urged me to apply to fill Sheriff Jim Scharf's position when he left office early. I declined because I was only a lieutenant then and didn't believe I was quite ready; I wanted more preparation.
By 2000, I had the credentials and experience I needed to run for Sheriff if the opportunity arose. I had been promoted to the civil service rank of captain, graduated from the FBI National Academy and been appointed to major by Sheriff Rick Bart. I was handling a multi-million dollar budget and had a variety of new and challenging responsibilities. In early 2001 I was promoted and appointed to my current position of Chief, Administrative Services Bureau.
Beyond my continuing desire to serve my community, I am concerned about the future of the Sheriff's Office. Under Sheriff Rick Bart's leadership, we have moved forward and become a more professional policing agency. The accomplishments of the last 12 years have been amazing. I don't want that progress to slide backwards because of inexperienced leadership at the helm. Sheriff Bart struggled during his first term in office because he wasn't as prepared to handle the demands of the job as he thought he was. He experienced a dramatic learning curve. Nevertheless, he was the best candidate choice at the time. This election, the voters have a clearer choice. I am the only candidate ready to step into the job and not experience that steep learning curve. I am ready and able to hit a home run on day one.
3. What do you believe is the number one law enforcement issue facing Snohomish County? How will that issue be addressed if you serve as Sheriff?
There are a variety of challenges facing law enforcement agencies throughout Snohomish County. They range from drug related crime, such as auto theft and burglary, to the re-emergence of gang activity, to crime prevention, to recruiting qualified applicants for police officer and deputy sheriff employment. All of these will require aggressive enforcement efforts and creative new solutions. However, the number one law enforcement issue facing Snohomish County impacts our ability to deal with all these challenges - predictable and sustainable funding.
Traditionally, at budget time, criminal justice departments in Snohomish County government are required to compete for limited funding within the county's general fund. We collectively take up to 71% of those available dollars. While this is less than neighboring counties, it is nevertheless a significant percentage. The Sheriff, prosecutor, public defender, jail, clerk and the courts all must vie for a finite amount of money to operate the next year within the constraints of inflation and in hopes of expanding or enhancing services to the community. And since we all have some impact on each other, there is always the concern among lawmakers that to give the Sheriff anymore staffing, the rest of the system will bog down.
I propose that the next Sheriff take the lead in an effort to create a county ordinance that will take the competitive nature out of the budgeting process. This "trigger" ordinance will work like this. If one thinks of the criminal justice system as a continuum, the Sheriff's Office is at the beginning. 911 calls drive most of what currently keeps us busy. We are experiencing over 2000 calls per deputy per year in our south precinct area. The national average is thought to be between 750 and 1000. If we agree upon a specified number of calls per deputy per year as the trigger, then the ordinance will require that in the next budget cycle, the Sheriff's Office will receive additional deputy and support staff. Tied to those additions, will be additional prosecutor, jail, public defender, courts and clerk staffing. Conversely, if 911 calls per deputy go down over time, staffing can be reduced through attrition. I am confident I can accomplish this because of my already established solid relationships with the County Council and other criminal justice department heads. It will be a win-win for all of us.
4. What is the greatest strength on the current Sheriff's department, and how would you continue and/or expand it if elected?
The greatest strength of the Sheriff's Office is its employees and volunteers. We have tremendous people who are creative, enthusiastic, and passionate about what they do for the community. They take challenges head-on and are accomplished problem solvers. I am proud to serve alongside them. However, they are overworked due to staffing shortages and sometimes become frustrated. As indicated above, I have a plan to address that so we can deliver a higher level of community service.
5. What is the greatest weakness of the current Sheriff's department, and how would you address that flaw if elected?
The greatest weakness of the Sheriff's Office is its crime prevention program. Our efforts at preventing crime have faltered in recent years due to budget limitations and some difficult and controversial decisions. We cannot expect to impact the crime rate in Snohomish County without an aggressive crime prevention and education process. If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then it makes better fiscal sense to prevent a crime from happening in the first place than investigate it after it happens.
Posted by Eric Earling at July 28, 2007
02:23 PM | Email This
I plan to reintroduce crime prevention officers in the Sheriff's Office staffing compliment. If for some reason I am unable to convince the County Council that this is necessary for the peace and safety of our community, I will reassign deputy sheriffs to this critical function. I am convinced it is absolutely necessary that we partner with community groups, block watches and interested citizens to teach them how they can work with us to keep their homes, business, identities and automobiles safe. I am committed to crime prevention.
Very good answers and qualifications.
As having prior bad experiences with snohomish police as a 911 caller, I'm loath to vote for a candidate that is such an "insider".
Greene makes a good point on the calls per officer and the need for additional funding too; I don't dought that they are overworked. Though democrats and liberals like their drugs and crime. Keeping the sheriff's office understaffed and overworked is a party platform.
2. Greene is clearly the best choice for sheriff, and this shows why. We don't want a popular partisan; we don't want someone the deputies are buddies with; we want the person who will do the best job to enforce the laws of the county.
From the Everett Herald 07-29-2007
For sheriff, Beidler rises above capable field
Three well-qualified candidates are vying in the Aug. 21 primary to replace Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart, who can't run again because of term limits. The top two will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.
Of the three, Sheriff's Lt. Rob Beidler offers the clearest plan for protecting citizens, doing it more efficiently and improving morale among deputies and support staff. He also has the energy, vision, intelligence, experience and leadership qualities the sheriff's office needs as it faces the serious law-enforcement challenges of a rapidly growing county.
We believe he would make an excellent sheriff, and recommend voters elect him.
That's not to say we find great fault with either of his opponents, state Rep. John Lovick or sheriff's Bureau Chief Tom Greene. Both bring strong law enforcement resumes and leadership experience to the race. But Beidler offers a more complete set of skills and talents.
Beidler, 40, has been with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office since 1993, moving up through the ranks with distinction. He holds a business degree with an emphasis in human resources, and his management skills have been recognized and rewarded with steadily increasing leadership responsibilities.
His aggressive approach to fighting crime focuses as much on prevention as catching criminals. He advocates creating full-time civilian positions within the agency to work with neighborhoods on Block Watch activities and with businesses on how to protect their property.
Refreshingly, his first solution to the agency's staffing challenges isn't simply to ask for more deputies. First, he says, the sheriff's office must show that it's using existing staff as efficiently as possible. Only then will it be in a position to make a sound case for more deputies and support personnel. He would start by making greater use of sheriff's cadets or noncommissioned staff to handle nonemergency calls, which he said amount to about 37 percent of all calls.
Lovick, 56, is a dedicated and talented public servant with 31 years experience in the Washington State Patrol. His campaign is focused on building partnerships with communities and other agencies to improve public safety. He also touts his political experience, saying it would make him an effective advocate for the agency in dealing with the executive's office and County Council. If voters elect him, they'll gain a capable sheriff, but lose an effective legislator in Olympia.
Greene, 56, has shown himself to be a competent administrator, and has worked with the executive's office and council in developing the agency's budget. He proposes pegging the sheriff's budget and, in turn, budgets for the prosecutor and jail, to the growth in 911 calls to ensure stable funding and adequate staffing levels. He stops short, though, of identifying a source for the extra revenue that would inevitably be required.
I think Greene dodged question #3. Budget is not a law enforcement issue. Budget is an administrative issue.
He makes a list of criminal activity but does not answer the question clearly before going into his budget idea. I don't think he really knows what is happening on a street level.
Budget is too a law enforcement issue.
Seems like a bunch of nits are picked here.
Looked at his endorsements. A couple looked impressive and a couple were ugh! and I need to look elsewhere.
(Note to moderator: Earling endorsements were on the positive side, BTW)
Budget is an enforcement isue?
Really? When was the last time a door was kicked in a while someone was at work and all of their property stolen because the Sheriff's Office budget was in the red or black.
Enforcement issues are crime related issues such as burglary, theft, drugs. A Sheriff should have a grasp of what the problems on the street are and how to combat them.
Budget is an important issue but the question was about crime not administration.
7. SP is talking about a Sheriffs race in Snohomish County of all places...lets get back to topics that actually matter.
Wow, what a surprise that the Herald writes an incoherent article
in favor of Beidler.
Greene is the one who has been strongly pushing crime prevention, and Greene is the one who actually has a workable plan for how to do it, and the ability to implement it. As for fighting crime ... Beidler is the one who said he'd welcome violent work-release felons into our neighborhoods if the legislature decided it, rather than criticizing the decision and fighting it for the sake of our safety. I guess the Herald liked that answer, but I don't think most citizens do.
And please: he is not going to ask for more personnel until he makes better use of the personnel there? What's he going to tell us next: that he plans to expel CO2 from his lungs before trying to take in additional oxygen? How is that interesting?
Telling in the Herald's analysis overall is that they call Lovick, someone who is literally unqualified to be a police chief, someone who would make a "capable sheriff," and barely devote any space to the fact that Greene is not only by far the most qualified candidate, but also has the endorsements of other people around the state who have actually done the job and know what it takes, or work with them -- many sheriffs and police chiefs and county council members -- which is far more important than who the deputies want.
Just incredible. A new low for the Herald.
I don't have anything seriously against Beidler (apart from the fact that he will be significantly beholden to the deputies, which is a serious problem he's not yet addressed). It's just that compared to Greene ... there's no contest. There's not a single part of Beidler's platform or abilities or anything else relating to the job of sheriff that is superior to Greene's.
Monkey: you're nitpicking. From the perspective of the sheriff, EVERYTHING that affects law enforcement is a law enforcement issue. The question was not about crime: it did not mention crime, in fact. I'll recap it for you: "What do you believe is the number one law enforcement issue facing Snohomish County? How will that issue be addressed if you serve as Sheriff?" If Eric had wanted to know which crimes were the greatest threat or something, then I presume he would have asked that.
swatter: I suppose full disclosure is useful: I too am on that page, endorsing Greene.
Cato: that you think this is offtopic shows that once again, you don't understand this site or its proprietors very well.
First let me address the DSA endorsment issue. For Chief Greene to not ask for the DSA endorsment because he wanted to stay objective is an easy out. If that is the case he should not seek endorsments from any entity or person. You can't have it both ways.
The reason he did not seek the DSA endorsement is specific to the nature of the relationship between the sheriff and the deputies. It's unique. The Sheriff is not my boss, and does not negotiate contracts that I am directly involved with, as a private citizen.
To say his logic applies to "any entity or person" shows you do not understand his logic, which is simple: Beidler, as the DSA endorsee, will be beholden to the deputies, and will not be seen by the public as a fair actor in any process where his impartiality is expected.
Next is people have brought up "what does Rob have to offer other than cops like him?"
What I meant in context was: what does he have to offer over Greene? Everything you mentioned Greene is better at: more qualified, more experience, more ability.
To me the election breaks down to this. The resume vs. the politician vs. the crime fighter. Personaly I want a crime fighter to lead the Sheriff's Office by example.
Both Lovick and Greene have more experience than Beidler in fighting crime. The only thing Beidler's got is more recent experience, but how is that interesting, except in pointing out how overall inexperienced Beidler is?
For those who beleive the Sheriff is an administrative position and not a "law enforcement" position is selling the position of Sheriff short.
This whole "behind the desk" nonsense may make for good marketing copy, but it doesn't reflect reality. Greene spent more time "on the streets" than Beidler has even been in uniform, and that's not even including Greene's years as a detective.
If you take an honest look at both candidates, then it boils down to "Tom Greene should be penalized for having all the experience Beidler has, PLUS A LOT MORE." It's nonsense.
Rob has administrative experience in and out of law enforcement but he is far and away the one out of the three candidates who knows what the crime on the street is like, what challenges the Deputies face, what resources they need to get the job done and how to build partnerships with the citizens to work together in making all of Snohomish County a safer place to live.
I want you to tell me specifically what about Beidler makes him know more than Greene what "the crime on the street is like, what challenges the Deputies face, what resources they need to get the job done and how to build partnerships with the citizens to work together in making all of Snohomish County a safer place to live." Since Greene has done more of all of those things over a longer period of time, it's just hard to swallow your claim.
The one thing Beidler has that Greene doesn't is "administrative experience ... out of law enforcement," so let's quantify it: he worked for Payless Corporation for about a year. If that is important, surely Greene's 13 years of administration in the Snohomish County Sheriff's Department is far more important, no?
I'm sorry for being a bit aggressive here ... but this pro-Beidler activism needs a reality injection.
Again, I have nothing against Beidler, except for his (in my opinion) unethical acceptance of the deputies' endorsement. Hopefully, if he is elected, that misjudgment won't come back to cost the entire county by harming his ability to do the job of sheriff. I am not trying to tear Beidler down. I just want this to be an honest discussion of the candidates, and the pro-Beidler people and the Herald are not being honest here, by pretending that Greene is merely a "competent administrator" and ignoring all of those years he was doing exactly what Beidler is doing now, that the pro-Beidler forces say we need.
Thanks for posting this questionairre, Eric. I think Tom's answers are excellent, and he has my endorsement as well.
Tom is not only the most qualified candidate (as evidenced in his response), but is a morally upstanding man with integrity and a clear sense of justice. He is the kind of man I want protecting my community and in charge of the men and women protecting the community.
I chose to get involved with his campaign, based on what I heard him say in his speeches, but have gotten to know him and his wife Kathy and some of their children and grandchildren on a personal level, and I haven't been this impressed with a candidate in a long time. His ethics are completely above standard, which is exactly what we need in a sherrif. On a personal level, he is clearly devoted to his wife and family as they are to him. I find this also to be a very good sign.
Please do explain what is so unethical about Beidler's acceptance of the SCDSA endorsement? And my, my, my how the insinuations and implications come out about the Herald when Beidler scores one. This was a detached 3rd party interviewing each candidate and making their own conclusions based on what each person answered. This was a MASSIVE blow to the Greene and Lovick teams, so now call out the war wagons.
Just remember what Theodore Roosevelt said, "People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives." This is why Beidler gets my vote.
12. This was a detached 3rd party interviewing each candidate and making their own conclusions based on what each person answered.
Now that's a laugh! Since when is the Herald or any MSM paper a "detached 3rd party"?
13. You all are sure good at throwing out the opinions without any explanation. Michelle...please do explain what the Herald has to gain by bogus endorsements? I know it stings...to not get the endorsement and all. Since I don't believe you have an answer and are only hurling zingers...I'll explain. Beidler answered the questions, clearly, and up front, AND has a plan. Greene - as stated in the paper didn't. Dude...if the only way someone could sum up my years of experience was "competent"?!?!? Wow...time to look for new work where I might "excel".
14. AND...unethical for Beidler to accept the SCDSA endorsement? What about the 100% vote by the Everett Police Guild to endorse Beidler? Should he accept that one as well? What about the majority of other police departments, and fire fighters...because, oh yeah...he has majority of all those as well.
GVL: actually, no, the paper did not state that. It said only that he had no plan to get additional revenue in one particular area: and Beidler had no such plan either. In fact, Greene has many plans to implement his goals.
And GVL, if you knew anything AT ALL about Greene, you would know that the Herald summing up Greene's experience as merely "competent" is a nonsensical joke. Frankly, anyone who would dismiss Greene's ability and experience as being anything other than exemplary is ignorant or dishonest (which, obviously, includes the Herald editorial board).
As to the acceptance of the deputies' endorsement: yes, unethical. He is supposed to lead the deputies, and now he is beholden to them. He cannot reasonably be viewed as a fair actor in dealings with them, because he owes them. It's an inherent conflict of interest, and thus unethical.
This is a position that a true leader would never put himself in.
I don't know why you are asking about the other ensdorsements: they have nothing to do with my point, or anything I said. That said, it's hard to take those endorsements seriously when it's well known that the unions stick together. If you think I am going to believe that their endorsements were independent of the deputies' endorsement, you might want to try selling me a bridge in Brooklyn while you've got me on the hook.
I never called the Herald's endorsement "bogus". You're putting words in my mouth. I merely laughed at the idea of them being a "detached 3rd party". By definition, an editorial board has an opinion (read: bias).
Michelle - your laughing is a clear inference...and Pudge...give us poor dumb ground pounders some credit. We choose a LEADER to FOLLOW...not to make him beholden to us. We're bigger boys and girls than that. Get off your high-horse.
A leader DOES stand up in front of his people and rally support, and there is nothing unethical about it.
GVL: shrug. You chose someone who walked right into a huge conflict of interest by accepting your endorsement. Doesn't sound like a leader to me.
If you think there's nothing unethical about it, well, you're wrong. It's pretty clear. He is incapable of being seen as a fair actor in dealings with the deputies. If he gives too much on a contract negotiation, or if he seems to be too lenient on discipline, the majority of people will -- for good reason -- think it is because he "owes" the deputies.
It was a mistake. It was unethical. And it is, frankly, the only thing he has going for him. The only thing anyone ever tells me that Beidler has over Greene is that the deputies endorsed Beidler, and on that, Greene still wins, because Greene chose the ethical path, and Beidler didn't.
And even if it wasn't unethical, frankly, I'd rather NOT have the person the deputies choose. I don't know why anyone thinks that's important, or even a good thing at all. I want someone who is going to be the boss, not the buddy, of the deputies.
And in every other area, Greene beats Beidler too: qualifications, ability, experience, knowledge, whatever. And I don't know Beidler, but judging by this conflict of interest he's put himself in, not to mention the scathing statement Sheriff Bart made about Beidler, I'd say Greene beats Beidler in character and integrity as well.
Pudge - you really take Rick Bart at face value? Come on, I think you might be the only person who does at this point, besides Greene that is. I'm not sure where you get your information, except what you're clearly getting from Greene, but it's definitely uninformed and one-sided. Maybe if you educate yourself and are informed from all sides your opinion would seem more significant!
GVL - way to stand up for someone you believe in! For the posters on this website to say that endorsements don't mean anything is like telling the deputies that their opinion doesn't matter. Isn't that what the current administration, which includes Greene, has been telling you for the past 12 years? Doesn't a group or association endorsement ultimately come from people, citizens of Snohomish County? Seems to me that Beidler has the support of a lot of those citizens!
Seriously: not at face value, no, but it seems to fall in line with everything else I've seen so far from Beidler.
You accuse me of being uninformed: but for some reason, you don't actually say in what way I am uninformed. Could it be because you ... can't? That's where the smart money is.
And you have it backwards about saying the opinion of the deputies don't matter. I am not saying they don't matter, I am saying they are not more important than anyone else's opinion: it's Beidler supporters who have it all wrong, saying that the opinions of the deputies matter more than anyone else's. Because, again, that is the ONLY THING that Beidler has over Greene, and we are told that this is all that matters, that it is good enough to support Beidler.
Of course, it's not. What matters most is ability, qualifications, experience, knowledge, and so on, which Greene has far more of than the other two candidates put together.