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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