Questions raised in sheriff’s race |

Questions raised in sheriff’s race

Former sheriff Ernie Carlson is a popular guy. Both candidates for the 2002 sheriff’s election have sought his endorsement, and at one point, both seemed to have gotten it.

Carlson, 88, served as sheriff of El Dorado County for five terms, from 1955 to 1974.

In June, Sgt. Larry Hennick announced that Carlson supported him for sheriff. On Tuesday, Carlson said he supports Sheriff Hal Barker, his friend and the incumbent. He denied ever saying he would support Hennick.

Hennick said he had a two-hour sit down with Carlson during which the former sheriff agreed to endorse him.

“I went and met with him. He didn’t tell me that,” Hennick said. “I don’t know what happened since then. If he changed his mind, it’s his prerogative to do so.”

Aside from his misdealing with Carlson, Hennick has secured an endorsement from Don McDonald, a former sheriff of El Dorado County who served from 1991 to 1997. McDonald lives outside Sandpoint, Idaho, where he and his wife own an engraving business.

McDonald said a “good-ole-boy” syndrome was not part of his administration and doesn’t expect it to be part of Hennick’s if he is sheriff.

In June, the El Dorado County Grand Jury, a watchdog for county government, released a report that said Barker had played favorites when making promotions.

“That’s hogwash for them to say I played favorites,” Barker said. “I play favorites by hiring the best people if that’s what they mean. Not everyone likes that. They think they’re the one who should get the job.”

The election for sheriff is scheduled March 5, 2002. The race has heated up quickly considering the deadline to become a candidate isn’t until October.

Right now, Barker, a former police chief at Folsom and sheriff of El Dorado County since 1997, and Hennick, a sergeant with 27 years experience in a variety of jobs in the department, are the only two people who have announced their candidacy.

On June 10, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Association announced its endorsement of Hennick for sheriff, the first time in more than 30 years it has not supported the incumbent. Also in June, Hennick won an appeal he filed with the Civil Service Commission. The commission decided Hennick was unfairly denied a promotion to the rank of lieutenant.

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