Letter to the editor: Merit board is ignoring bipartisan protocols

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To the editor:

Did you know the Hancock County Sheriff’s Merit Board is supposed to consist of Republicans and Democrats? State statute says not more than two members appointed by sheriff nor more than one member elected by officers may belong to the same political party. The newest appointee, elected by officers, would make for two Republicans on the board.

After the death of a Democratic member in 2020, several qualified, Democratic options were offered but were overlooked to appoint a person who has typicality either voted Republican or not at all. The stance of the Hancock County Election Office is that since no ballots were used during the last few primaries, he can claim whichever party he wants, even with knowledge that he has pulled Republican ballots in the past.

The last Democratic ballot he used was in 1994. Does that sound like a Democrat to you?

The merit board needs to follow protocol and not only take Republican suggestions but also solid Democratic ones. At least two were given as options, but they chose to ignore them and go with an appointee that has not aligned as a Democrat for decades. To me and many other Democrats in Hancock County, this is just another example of a Republican Party that wants to abide by extreme partisanship and agendas rather than forming thoughtful partnerships in our government.

I urge anyone who believes that equal representation is important to contact Sheriff Brad Burkhart to let him know this is unacceptable.

Linda Genrich


Linda Genrich is chair of the Hancock County Democratic Party