Sheriff pick should go to most, best qualified
Hernando TodayThe issue: Gov. Charlie Crist must appoint a new sheriff to replace Richard Nugent, who won the 5th District U.S. Congressional seat Nov. 2.
Published: November 20, 2010
Published: November 20, 2010
Our opinion: Capt. Mike Maurer is best choice.
As the saying goes, politics makes strange bedfellows. Such appears to be the case with the selection of a new sheriff to replace Republican Richard Nugent, who won the 5th District U.S. Congressional seat Nov. 2.
The decision is now in Gov. Charlie Crist's hands.
Our choice is Capt. Mike Maurer. He's been with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office for the past 22 years, rising through the ranks of what has become one of the most professional law enforcement agencies in the state. Much of that is to his credit as well as the other men and women who protect and serve us each day.
Maurer not only understands our "do the right thing" culture in the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, he played key roles in developing the ethics and standards that are the foundation for it.
Maurer knows Hernando. He knows the people. He's been a big part of this community for years and has selflessly served in numerous capacities outside his role in law enforcement.
He's one of us.
Maurer is somebody Hernando Countians can count on to get the job done right and to continue leading our sheriff's department in the highest professional manner with the resources he's given.
With the exception of activist and perennial political candidate Brian Moore, that's not to say that the other five gentlemen who've thrown their hat in the ring aren't capable of leading the sheriff's office. All have extensive law enforcement experience and have put their lives on the line to protect their fellow citizens. However, they are not a part of the culture that has developed over the last 32 years in our sheriff's department, under 16 years of former Sheriff Tom Mylander's leadership and nearly 16 years under Richard Nugent's leadership who was hand picked by Mylander.
When Mylander retired, he recommended Nugent for sheriff. Although no human being is perfect, we believe Mylander was wise to select Nugent. Nugent has served us well continuing the culture that Mylander started more than three decades ago.
The governor would be wise to seat Mauer as sheriff and allow the culture that has made the Hernando County Sheriff's Office one of the very best law enforcement agencies in the state.
We want the most qualified and best suited to continue the ethics and standards of the sheriff's department. We believe that's Capt. Mike Maurer.
However, we're not confident that will happen.
Gov. Crist, who fled the Republican Party in his race for U.S. Senate because he knew Marco Rubio would shellac him in the primary, is good buddies with state Sen. Mike Fasano. Crist and Fasano are also buddies with Al Nienhuis, the undersheriff in Pasco County, who has thrown his hat in the Hernando ring.
Nugent, who's best buddies with Maurer and anointed him as the next sheriff early on in the process, is in poor standing with Fasano and Crist. Nugent cut a backroom deal with U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite so he could file for her seat at the 11th hour and Brown-Waite would then announce she wasn't running for re-election.
That was after she put on a big fake show up in Citrus County to announce her run for re-election.
Boy, did the media fall for that one.
Needless to say, that left a lot of other more qualified candidates for the congressional seat out in the cold. They didn't want to run against a strong incumbent in an election year that would see Republicans rampage over their Democratic opponents - incumbents or newcomers.
Obviously, we believe that hacked off Fasano and other candidates who would have run for the seat if they'd known Brown-Waite was bowing out.
Now, it might be political payback time, and so the plot thickens.
Will outgoing Gov. Crist use his position as a political payback to Nugent and appoint Fasano's Pasco County buddy to the Hernando post, or will he do what's best for Hernando Countians and appoint the most qualified person for the job?
Maurer will provide a seamless transition and continued stability to the sheriff's office.
Stay tuned. This could get messy.