Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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August 10th, 2012

Smear Campaign to Stop Law Enforcement Committee

Sheriff Michael Schiff along with his surrogates has been on a campaign smearing the legislature’s attempt to look into the costs of law enforcement using an independent bipartisan committee.

While accusations are flying that the committee is political, the two Republicans on the legislature joined with the Democratic majority in support of it during a public safety committee meeting last week.

The legislature has a fiduciary responsibility to all the taxpayers of Sullivan County. Law enforcement costs like social services have gone up dramatically.

As part of reviewing law enforcement expenses, and purposely not to be accused of politics, the review panel was formed.

There is no extra layer of government as some would suggest. The committee will consist of non paid volunteers who are experts in the field including former DA Stephen Lungen and Sheriff Dan Hogue.

It is shocking how people could allege that Lungen is not an expert on law enforcement. Lungen was one of the most respected and longest prosecutors in NYS. Hogue was equally treasured as our Sheriff. How quickly we forget.

Shame on anyone who would claim Lungen and Hogue are political operatives. They are not out to get Schiff or his employees.

Members of the Sheriff’s patrol should not be fearful jobs will be lost. The patrol is mandated in the charter. No one is saying anywhere that the patrol should be eliminated and replaced by NYS police. I would be the first to denounce anyone who would advocate that. Without a safe and secure Sullivan County we will have nothing.

What is most appalling is that town supervisors fell into Schiff’s trap and urged the legislature not to move forward with the advisory committee. Instead of working together with the legislature, our supervisors are developing a wedge between them and county officials.

Perhaps legislators should tell townships how to conduct their business. They should attend their meetings and publically denounce their actions. And, there is plenty to criticize. Who can forget how the Town of Thompson announced tax increases just days after last November’s election. Why was kept under wraps until after the election?

Only 20 percent of our tax bill comes from the county. The remainder of these assessments is town and school. At least our legislature is trying to get a hold on costs. Can supervisors say the same?

I asked legislature chairman Scott Samuelson to comment on the resistance to the law enforcement committee, he said, “I am just so disappointed in the suspicion and resistance. Me thinks thou doth protest too much. There are six new legislators who have made a commitment to change and to do the best possible for Sullivan County. Informing ourselves would seem to me to be the first order of business.”

“That is the goal, to resource independent public safety professionals to help facilitate a greater understanding of the entire landscape so we can make educated choices on every level. I am confident at the end of this process everyone will understand that this was our intention from the beginning and we will be able to feel confident that we made good and appropriate decisions.”

Enough said.

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