Letter as submitted by Bob Armstrong, Ocean County Sheriff Candidate:
The county’s stable Fitch Ratings is not the whole story. The County should stop wasting thousands of taxpayers’ dollars on needless studies and do what I proposed three years ago — merge the Department of Corrections with the Sheriff’s Department. If elected in November, this will be my first priority.
The sheriff has completely mishandled his department and the costs are staggering. How can Sheriff Polhemus justify paying fifty-four of his employees, who work “inside” the office, over $100,000 each?
My proposal to merge Corrections within the Sheriff’s office will greatly reduce bloated salaries, overtime and political patronage. Other counties have done it already, and there is no justification for Sheriff Polhemus to keep the status quo here in Ocean County. The consolidation of the Sheriff’s Department and Corrections worked well for over one hundred years in Ocean County until Sheriff Polhemus was elected twenty-seven years ago. For purely political reasons, I believe, Mr. Polhemus and the freeholders created the Department of Corrections and hired a jail warden. That was wrong and I will change it.
Governor Christie has advocated consolidation and streamlining services. My proposal would accomplish that in the Sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Polhemus and the Jail Warden spent over $4 million in overtime alone in 2011. This is outrageous considering that the majority of sheriff officers perform “inside” duties. I have proposed utilizing them for law enforcement duties “outside” for which they were trained. Our local police departments could certainly use the help controlling traffic and public safety and I believe the sheriff’s officers would welcome the opportunity to get “outside” the office and work in real law enforcement. As it is, we are wasting their talents.
Candidate for Ocean County Sheriff