Safety. An elected official’s first duty is to help create a community where we can all feel safe. All policies for sheriffs, residents, and visitors should meet this high standard. Current troubling events around the country have many citizens questioning our public safety system. It’s time for new ears for listening, an open mind, and a new voice not afraid of change.
Accountability. Hancock County Commissioners are responsible for creating a yearly County budget. Instead of using population and other data to plan ahead, they now simply average the amount spent over the previous five years as the next year’s budget. Planning for future funding needs, reducing redundancies in County systems, and finding creative but less expensive ways to achieve the same results would free up the budget to support flexible decision making and forward looking interventions. A cash accounting system instead of a cash accrual system would help Hancock citizens better appreciate how their tax dollars are being spent.
Fairness. Safety and accountability are vital in government, but without justice systems that treat all citizens equally before the law they are just nice words. For example, fairness means rethinking the way offenders, particularly first time offenders, are brought to accountability. Adopting an innovative policy such as the Restorative Justice practice which has been successfully implemented in Waldo County, could be a better and cheaper policy for Hancock County . The present antiquated system of “branding” offenders as criminals impedes efforts to rehabilitate them, limits their ability to find jobs, and often results in even more hardened criminals. Restorative Justice programs also assist victims and survivors, who are too often forgotten by both the courts and public, in remaining safe, finding a way to heal, and moving forward.
Policies that promote Fairness, Accountability, and Safety are dependent on each County Commissioner’s personal code of ethics.
Some Simple Recipies for Good Governance
Justice and Reform
Explore effective models for community safety. Sheriffs as guardians of public safety trained in crisis intervention that causes the least collateral damage.
People-based Policy Development
Support policies to shape our county in ways that take all stakeholders into account, honoring current economic and social realities.
Rights and Responsiblities
Leaders and citizens must demand their rights but also accept their responsibilities.
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