Recently my attention was called to a couple of photographs on Dan Regna's website that show Dan in McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren's office. The sender of the letter to me containing a print-out of these photos suggested that a County taxpayer-supported office was used in a political campaign. Dan was running for State's Attorney at the time.
You can check out the photos yourself at www.danregna.com/page6.html Scroll down just a little to the photos under the title "Sheriff Nygren Endorses Dan Regna, January 10, 2008". One is a "That's my boy" photo with Keith standing with his hand on Dan's shoulder; you'll see it. The other is a shirt-sleeve business meeting (well, "photo op", since a photographer "just happened" to be there).
By the way, just who was the photographer? A County employee? If not, how did s/he get into the building with a camera? The guards are pretty good at keeping cameras and tape-recorders out of the building.
Maybe I'm particularly sensitive to the use by an elected official of his office (or of his "Office") for any business except proper County business (is that redundant?). A few years ago I received a envelope bearing the Sheriff's name and his badge of office, and I wondered for what court case I was receiving a subpoena. It turned out to be a fund-raising letter!
At the time I barked and whined about use of the badge of office in a political letter. The badge and the Office, even the title of Sheriff, go with the elected position and belong to the People; they are not personal to the person who temporarily fills the office by election. They should not be used in any unofficial capacity.
Now, if you go to the Endorsements tab on www.danregna.com, you'll see the very first endorsement sure looks like a letter from the Office of Sheriff. See the badge at the top of the letter? See the signature above the title "Sheriff"? See the small print at the bottom with the P.O. Box for a mailing address?
When I'm sheriff, County taxpayer money will not be wasted putting my name on every vehicle. All that is, is rolling advertising for the next election. The badge and title will be used only for official business.
When's the next election for Sheriff? I called the Elections Office and learned that the next election cycle for McHenry County Sheriff begins with the General Primary Election in February 2010. Whew! Okay, so that's a while off. Plenty of time.
And then I asked when the petitions would be available. "August 2009." OK, so good; a year. And then she said, "In a couple of months."
Whoa! This is 2009. Where has the year gone?
For the past two elections for Sheriff, I have thought about running. I already have my Motto figured out, and I've already chosen my first hire.