Summit Daily letters: Woodman speaks out against Summit Daily endorsement
October 28, 2018
While not entirely surprised, I was saddened to see the endorsement of the current sheriff by the Summit Daily News in the Oct. 20 edition and would like to take the opportunity to weigh in with some clarifying information. Before I do however, I would like to address the recent vandalism of election materials that has taken place. I want to clearly state for the record that the recent acts against my opponent's signs is completely unacceptable. This destruction of property is in no way condoned by either candidate, and it is simply not who we are as a community. It is for this reason that I have pledged $500 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved. Attempting to suppress freedom of speech by destroying another's property should never be tolerated under any circumstances.
I have faithfully served this community for over 35 years, and as such have earned the trust of supporters on both sides of the aisle. My commitment to this community is not in representing one side over the other. I am not interested in serving as a Republican Sheriff or a Democratic Sheriff, but faithfully as Your Sheriff, one that will bring community policing and an open-door policy back to the office again.
I have been open and transparent throughout this entire process. I have invited everyone to meet with me so that I could address their questions or concerns regarding my campaign and issues within the community. During some of the meet and greets I have been able to address several of the misconceptions that the current sheriff and the Summit Daily News have elected to continue. Instead of focusing on some of the more pressing issues that have come to light in recent days, they seem content to continue to spread misinformation about me and my campaign.
The Summit Daily editorial board has questioned my leadership ability based on comments from the current sheriff. It is true that my management style is very different from the current sheriff, as I believe in empowering employees, setting clear expectations and holding the office of sheriff accountable. It has been a successful model for over three decades and I have no intentions of dictating or micro-managing deputies now. I have worked for four different sheriffs over the years and have learned from each administration. While each has had its own management style, none until now have found it necessary to have their employees sign a non-disclosure agreement. What is happening inside the organization that requires freedom of speech to be suppressed by the current administration? Law enforcement employees understand confidentiality; it is clearly outlined and stated in the sheriff's office policies and procedures. So we have to ask, why now? What's going on in the sheriff's office that this is suddenly needed? Why do they no longer trust their employees? I trust them to serve our community and to do their jobs. Shouldn't the current sheriff trust them too? Again, if this is the leadership style that the Summit Daily so admires, then I have to question their ability to be objective and unbiased.
It was also alleged that we have run a negative campaign. I would like to address this by stating that we live in a small community and that supporters on both sides have become negative at times. We too have had our supporters attacked from persons using fake email accounts and profiles on Twitter and Facebook. These attacks have been vicious and personal. My supporters have been ridiculed, slandered and have felt threatened and intimidated by my opponents' supporters. Although we live in a small community, both FitzSimons and I have impassioned supporters, many of whom we have not personally met. I ask the people in this community to stop the negative dialogue and personal attacks on both candidates and their supporters and for one side not to be blamed while the other is allowed to continue the abusive behavior.
I thank everyone for reading to the end. I know we all get weary when politics are involved and it is easy to jump onto non-truths and allow them to influence your decision-making. I welcome all questions and am happy to meet with you in person. Please continue to do your research and be an informed voter. Party lines should not enter into your decision on the office of sheriff. It's not the party line, it's the bottom line, and I respectfully ask for your continued support and your vote. Thank you.
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Republican candidate for sheriff
Editor's note: A portion of Derek Woodman's letter was witheld because it contained unsubstantiated allegations against his opponent. As is our professional and legal obligation, the Summit Daily is in the process of verifying those claims.
Supporting Derek Woodman
I have known Derek Woodman for decades and count him as a good friend. Derek is a hard worker and has great integrity in the things he does. Derek has many decades of experience in law enforcement. I support him and feel he has the best background and experience to be Summit County Sheriff. It is unfortunate that he has to run against his opponent and the local print media. We have seen that before. Derek is not even allowed by our local print media to respond to accusations made by such. Derek has submitted a very factual and straight-forward response to print media allegations and the print media has refused to print the response even to the point of not allowing a truthful and factual paid full-page statement of response. How can the electorate of Summit County make an informed decision without receiving all available information. The print media should re-evaluate their decision and allow Derek to print his response.
Please vote in this election and vote for Derek Woodman for sheriff.
Editor's note: We have represented Derek Woodman's viewpoints in several news articles. We have also run several letters, including one from former Sheriff John Minor's wife, in support of Woodman's candidacy. We have not published Woodman's letter until today because it contained unsubstantiated accusations against his opponent. One section of his letter above was removed because it contained allegations the Daily is in the process of investigating. We at the Daily have a professional and legal obligation to verify such allegations before publishing them.
Elect Derek Woodman for sheriff
Derek Woodman had been the undersheriff of Summit County for over 20 years and was highly recommended as the replacement by the retiring sheriff in 2016. He has not one blemish on his record. I met Derek several years ago and continue to support him. He is honest, well-liked and respected by most everyone from both sides of the political spectrum in Summit County. He deserves our vote.
His opponent, Jaime FitzSimons, joined the Summit County Sheriff's Office 14 years ago by way of Los Angeles PD. He has admitted to the Summit Daily News he has a dark spot in his past. He had an affair with a subordinate officer which ended tragically. He was terminated by LAPD. He sued for reinstatement and after approximately three years, he was reinstated at a lower rank and reassigned to another district. Today, this would be classified as a #MeToo issue.
FitzSimons says he was unanimously appointed by all three current Summit County Commissioners in 2016 — an appointment they are permitted to handle upon a vacancy. Our questions are:
1. Did the Summit County Commissioners properly vet FitzSimons? If so, they would have surely found out about his problems and demotions. If they did and still appointed him, shame on them. If they didn't, shame on them. It was easy for us to find these things.
2. Did the Summit County Commissioners simply unanimously appoint FitzSimons over the more qualified and respected Woodman for other personal reasons? If so, shame on them.
With the above information in mind, I urge you to vote for Derek Woodman for the office of sheriff of Summit County in the November 2018 election.
Ignore partisan politics in Summit sheriff's race
In future elections, the position of Summit County Sheriff should be non-partisan. There is no reason to designate party affiliation for a job that does not involve policy-making or voting on legislation. If this year's ballot ignored political party, Derek Woodman would win by a wide margin, although he is not glitzy or a flamboyant public speaker. Why? Because he has far more experience, the full support of those who actually know something about the sheriff's office (including its staff), has a real work ethic and more integrity than his opponent, and is dedicated to our community and not to Hollywood, just for starters.
But this is Summit County, and competence takes a back seat to the importance to having a "D" after a candidate's name. A recent paid ad endorsing FitzSimons was loaded with the names of fat-cat Breckenridge campaign donors. Even the Summit Daily provided misleading information by implying Derek was running a negative campaign. He's not, of course, and has conspicuously avoided mentioning most of the questionable background of his opponent.
Although Derek may not raise the issue, voters should wonder why the incumbent is requiring members of the sheriff's office to sign a non-disclosure agreement. What is he trying to hide? Why is he taking credit for programs started by his predecessor? Why do some members of his own family and the family of former employers support his opponent? And why was he originally appointed to his position on a strict political party vote by the county commissioners? Yes, these are "negative" questions. But they're coming from someone not affiliated with any campaign, not from a candidate, and they're important!
I hope we will see through the smokescreen and elect the best person and candidate, Derek Woodman. But if county voters are fooled by Hollywood Fitz and elect him to another term, at least the other four police jurisdictions in Summit County will soon have a large number of qualified applicants for available jobs.
Support for Jaime FitzSimons
Summit County is changing and Sheriff FitzSimons has shown he can stand up to the challenges of the past. He has what it will take to meet the challenges in the future. Vote for Jaime FitzSimons for sheriff. I did.
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