Good ol’ Boys

Update:  Retiring Sheriff Gary Penrod has recommended Assistant Sheriff Rod Hoops fill the remaining two years of his term.

This morning, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors heeded Penrod’s advice and voted to circumvent the interview process for finding an interim replacement for Penrod.

Because the position of county sheriff is an elected office, Penrod’s replacement would be an appointee who would only serve until the 2010 election.

The board plans to vote Jan. 23 on appointing Hoops, a 30-year veteran in charge of operations,  to the position. If the vote goes through, Hoops would be sworn in on Feb. 3.

Normally, the board would collect applications from interested candidates and hold a public hearing to interview them. That process will not be conducted, the supervisors decided Tuesday.

In 1983, when San Bernardino County Sheriff Frank Bland retired, he handpicked Floyd Tidwell to replace him, and Tidwell had many months in office before the next election to make his name known to the public so re-election would not be a problem.

In 1991, Sheriff Tidwell retired – in January – and hand-picked Dick Williams, giving Williams many months in office to make his name known so election would not be a problem.

In January 1995 Sheriff Williams retired, and hand-picked Gary Penrod to replace him. Penrod also had several months in office before the next election to make his name known.

This week, Sheriff Penrod retired, and has apparently hand-picked Assistant Sheriff Rod Hoops as his replacement. Although Undersheriff Richard Beemer will be the interim sheriff, Penrod’s actual replacement will be selected by the county Board of Supervisors, probably within two months. The betting is on Hoops.

What you’re looking at here, of course, is the ultimate good ol’ boy network in full operation. Interlopers – people outside the system who oppose the anointed one to seek the office – have not been successful in San Bernardino County in the last 54 years.

Had you ever, until you read Thursday’s issue of the Daily Press, heard of Rod Hoops? Neither had we. But we’re here to guarantee that between now and the next election, you will, via “Sheriff Hoops today announced a crackdown on gangs in San Bernardino County,” “Sheriff Hoops’ office announced the break-up of a burglary ring in Hesperia,” etc. It’s a powerful platform for publicity, and the new guy seldom wastes it.

What we know and have heard regarding Sheriff Penrod over the years tells us he’s done a good job, and has earned his annual salary of $190,919, plus benefits. About 95 percent of that salary will follow him into retirement, again plus benefits, which is not outlandish in the world of public service … though in the private sector, it would be an extremely attractive – extremely attractive – package. Particularly now.

Do we object to this manipulation of public office by the good ol’ boys? Of course. It’s not nepotism, exactly, but it sure is all in the family. It would be far better, in our view, if the election for a new sheriff had, by law, to be held within two months of the office becoming vacant. That would open things up to a far wider field of candidates – never a bad thing. And, of course, it would keep county supervisors from acting as kingmakers on the old sheriff’s behalf. At least then we could all pretend it was a fair process.

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2 Responses

  1. […] our Sheriff has been doing, is stepping down before the end of their obligations/re-election and personally appointing someone on t…. The unfortunate fact, that the “incumbent” getting […]

  2. You poor folks in San Bernardino County….
    If things get a little crazy there, always remember the role your Sheriffs played during the ‘cocaine years’, back when the three letter .gov agencies were using your fine county and the supply point for powder going into Los Angeles.
    Anybody think to ask former Sheriff Floyd Tidwell where all those stolen guns went?
    Why not one of them has ever turned up being pawned, transferred through a legitimate dealer, recovered at a crime scene, reported found/lost …. it’s like they went off the planet Earth!
    How much you want to bet they can be found in Nicaragua?
    Why has San Bernardino have an international rep for corruption?
    Can you say Cocaine Importation Agency?

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