Summit Daily editorial: Jaime FitzSimons for sheriff | SummitDaily.com

Summit Daily editorial: Jaime FitzSimons for sheriff

The Summit County sheriff's race between Democrat Jaime FitzSimons and Republican Derek Woodman is tight as a hairpin turn at 60 mph. Both candidates have experience to spare. Both have deep ties in the community. Both appear to be fine, community-minded men. However, we believe that what sets the candidates apart boils down to one thing: Work ethic.

We believe FitzSimons is a dynamic, tireless workhorse who represents the future of the Summit County law enforcement. The Summit Daily believes he has earned your vote.

Woodman has 35 years of experience in Summit. That counts for a lot. However, we've been impressed by the diversity and depth of FitzSimons' stellar resumé and by the votes of confidence he has received from members of the community who closely observe local law enforcement matters.

We also put no small amount of stock in the unanimous Board of County Commissioners vote FitzSimons, a former division commander, received to replace John Minor as sheriff this May.

"Jaime really knocked it out of the park, I think, in many ways," said commissioner Dan Gibbs. "The depth of his experience in Summit County is impressive as commander … but knowing what it's like to work in other areas outside our wonderful community of Summit County is a real plus. I really liked his background of 15 years experience with LAPD. I can't imagine too many things that he hasn't seen or that would surprise him."

Some, particularly Woodman, have argued that the appointment was partisan politics at its worst. We don't find this argument persuasive. The commissioners have appointed Republicans before. In truth, we believe the they made their decision based on FitzSimons' compelling vision for a highly capable, responsive sheriff's office that engages the community as much as it protects it. Look for FitzSimons, who's served in the sheriff's office for 12 years, to be on the forefront of pressing community issues such as mental health and workforce housing. He's a born leader and will serve our community well.

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We would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge that the results of an outside audit of the sheriff's office finances swayed our decision. To be clear, we don't see evidence of intentional wrongdoing. Instead, the audit revealed lax accounting practices that call Woodman's leadership abilities into question. The specter of partisan politics was again raised by Woodman regarding the audit. What wasn't raised was an explanation of subpar bookkeeping practices.

Experience is crucial to serve Summit County well as its top lawman, but the quality of that experience is what sets one candidate apart from the other. The Summit Daily is proud to endorse Jaime FitzSimons for Summit County sheriff.