To the editor:
The two candidates for sheriff of El Dorado County faced off at a candidates’ forum at the Marshall Grange hall in Garden Valley recently. Sgt. Larry Hennick was eloquent, smooth and was “pushing the right buttons” in his presentation and answers, no doubt from his many years of experience campaigning for the office of sheriff. On the other hand Undersheriff Jeff Neves was the more candid and forthright of the two, relying on facts and his experience as a peace officer, leader and administrator. The greatest difference in the candidates was, frankly, honesty.
In response to the question, “Did you think there is corruption in the Sheriff’s Department?” Hennick answered “yes” and used as an example his recent complaint to the Civil Service Commission alleging discrimination in his failure to pass an interview panel for promotion to lieutenant. He stated that the commission found in his favor and placed him on the promotional list. Hennick also claimed that the Grand Jury investigated the matter and found in his favor. The truth is quite different.
I was, and still am, a member of the Civil Service Commission. After many days of hearings and deliberations the commission found that Hennick’s complaint of discrimination was NOT supported by the evidence, but rather that the interview procedure was faulty. Rather than ordering that the interviews be done over after more than a year had passed, the commission ordered that he be placed on the lieutenant’s list. The decision was NOT unanimous and is public record. The Grand Jury addressed a different issue, and I suggest that their report be read prior to making any decision on that issue.
Undersheriff Neves, in response to the same question, emphatically stated that there was no corruption in the department. He then gave a much more truthful and accurate assessment as to the nature of Hennick’s complaint and the commission’s findings. Jeff Neves does not need to embellish his record. He has not been campaigning for years, as has Hennick. He is running for sheriff out of a sense of duty, not ego.
Robert A. Villalobos
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