Vail Daily letter: Rebutting Hoy criticisms |

Vail Daily letter: Rebutting Hoy criticisms

Joe Stearns
Eagle, CO Colorado

Mr. McCarthy’s Oct. 20 letter is a significant disservice to the election for sheriff.

Let’s start with his data. I spoke to the county’s finance department and the input I received was that the Sheriff’s Office is consistently under budget. The $10,372,178 amount in 2009 was the budget!

I was at the candidate forum and heard Sheriff Hoy discuss the budget; he said the changes he planned would result in a personnel count equal to the 2005 level. That is exactly what the chart given to Mr. McCarthy by the county shows – the count in 2005 was 83 and Sheriff Hoy’s projection for 2011 is 80, a reduction of three from the 2005 count. The chart shows that this is the second year of head count reductions by the Sheriff’s Office – 103 people in 2009, 94 in 2010 and a plan to go to 80 in 2011.

Mr. McCarthy expresses frustration with not knowing all the specifics of the plan before the election. Two comments: One, once the budget is set the sheriff will have to live with it – the details are way beyond an election issue, and, two, there are going to be people who have to be let go. Does Mr. McCarthy expect the sheriff to discuss the details in a public forum before he can talk to the individuals affected?

The Van Beek camp has consistently said he would do more outreach to the community yet in his letter Mr. McCarthy criticizes the sheriff for doing exactly that. Sheriff Hoy sought community input on what is most important to the public in terms of keeping us safe. Mr. Van Beek seems to want to have it both ways.

Mr. McCarthy implies that the Sheriff’s Office is overpaying the supervisors, but their pay is determined by the county’s personnel process and heavily determined by job size and years of service. Said another way, once you define the structure of the office, you set the personnel cost.

Mr. McCarthy strongly implies that the Sheriff’s Office is “top heavy.” He assumes that the organization was right under the prior administration. But I have read Sheriff Hoy’s website, and he strongly defends his organization with some very strong arguments. I invite you to read them at

The bottom line is that his organization mirrors that of other sheriff’s offices around the state and beyond. I went to the websites of some other law enforcement organizations and theirs looked remarkably similar to Sheriff Hoy’s. There are numerous endorsements from people who work with the Sheriff’s Office that say Sheriff Hoy’s changes have been a significant improvement.

Once you put people in charge of a part of the organization, I think it is reasonable to expect them to manage it. The leader of an organization is there to think longer term and set tone and direction, not manage the details of day-to-day operations. You don’t need a jail administrator and have the sheriff do the same thing. A mark of a good leader and someone who operates at an executive level, which certainly encompasses the role of the sheriff, is that they surround themselves with good people and let them do their job. The sheriff needs to be involved in the major issues facing the office, not manage every element of every decision every day.

Again, the Van Beek camp wants it both ways. Here we have criticism for not being involved in every detail while Mr. Van Beek says he’ll be a better delegator.

It is disappointing to see the race for this important position descend to this level.

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