Deputies’ Digits

In the ongoing battle regarding the crucial endorsement of the Deputy Sheriffs Association (DSA), the union revealed that incumbent Sheriff Jim Anderson received just 11 votes more than former sheriff Jim Thomas, 49 more than Sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi, and 123 more than Lompoc Police Chief Bill Brown. After the union announced it would endorse Anderson because he received more votes than any other candidate, more than 60 deputies filed a grievance charging the union changed the endorsement requirement from a majority to a plurality after the ballots were issued, but before they were counted. Two weeks ago, the union rejected the grievances and Sgt. Kelly Moore threatened to sue. Hoping to avert that lawsuit, the union agreed to reveal the previously sealed results of the vote. “I’m surprised it’s not closer,” said Anderson, “the way Jim has been lobbying the troops.” He dismissed the controversy over the endorsement as “contrived.” The battle between Anderson and Thomas, his predecessor, has been especially fierce. When the nonprofit Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Council recently became fraught with infighting and accusations of financial mismanagement, Thomas faulted Anderson for bad judgment and leadership. Anderson accused Thomas of orchestrating the meltdown in an effort to regain power. Last week, attorneys for Helen Jepsen — a close friend of Anderson’s and the last director of the Sheriff’s Council — submitted court papers alleging Thomas was involved in efforts to discredit her and the Sheriff’s Council. Thomas denied the accusations, but acknowledged meeting twice with Jepsen’s accusers. In one of those meetings, Thomas arranged a meeting with them and District Attorney Tom Sneddon to determine whether the allegations of financial impropriety involving Jepsen rose to a criminal level. According to Thomas, Sneddon suggested they sue for an audit of the Sheriff’s Council books of the last two years. Those documents, released last week, promise to serve as fuel for continued finger pointing.

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