Many Sandusky County residents were shocked by the recent arrest of Sheriff Kyle Overmyer. Overmyer was charged with 38 felony counts related to the handling of drugs in drug drop boxes, obtaining prescription drugs fraudulently, and mishandling of funds within the Sheriff’s department.
Sheriff Overmyer has now been suspended by a judicial panel, and is not able to return to work, although he continues to collect his salary. He is scheduled for court in March of 2016. What is most shocking of all is that the Sheriff is still running for office in the election this November. Until he is voted out of office or convicted of a crime he will continue to collect his taxpayer funded salary.
This is not fair to the citizens of Sandusky County or to the other officers in the Sheriff’s Department. There is a need for leadership in the Department right now. The reputation of the Department has been affected and this must be a demoralizing situation for the officers who serve this community and risk their safety every day.
Many people in the Republican Party still support Overmyer and plan to vote for him in the upcoming election. The Chairman of the Sandusky County Republican Party, Justin Smith, has shown no signs of withdrawing his support for Overmyer. He is publicly supporting a candidate who cannot go to work and earn his salary, and who may be convicted of crimes which will cause him to be removed from office permanently.
This is an unacceptable situation, and Mr. Smith should provide an explanation for why he is not offering support to an alternative candidate who will be able to lead the Sheriff’s Department if he is victorious in November. There are two such candidates. One is James Consolo, and the other is Chris Hilton.
It is possible that the Republican Party Chairman, Justin Smith, is too closely connected to the Overmyer family to lead the Republican Party effectively. It has been reported that Mr. Smith is employed by the Sandusky County Courts, and his supervisor is Tracy Overmyer, the sister of Sheriff Overmyer. If this is true, then reasonable people could suspect that opposition to the Overmyer campaign would be detrimental to Mr. Smith’s career. This could affect his judgement about who to support, and it is detrimental to the interests of Sandusky County citizens.
Although Sheriff Overmyer is still running for election as Sheriff, it is clear that there are only two serious candidates in this election, they are James Consolo, and Chris Hilton. Both are running as independents and they provide the voters with two good choices for Sheriff.
James Consolo has 28 years of experience with the Sheriff’s Department and he has extensive education and training in areas relevant to issues facing Sandusky County such as homicide investigations and narcotics training. Chris Hilton has 20 years of experience with the Perkins Police Department and has extensive experience and education including training from the Police Executive Leadership College and the FBI National academy. Both of these men are far superior candidates who could show up to work on day one and lead the Sheriff’s Department to a better future.
Many Overmyer supporters argue he has not been convicted of a crime and since he has not been proven guilty he is still eligible to run. It does not appear that these voters have taken into consideration the consequences of their position.
Even if he is able to win election, he will not be able to return to work until his court case is completed and he is either found not guilty or all the charges are dropped against him. His case is scheduled for court in March but it is possible the case could take much longer than that. During that time, the people of Sandusky County would be paying Mr. Overmyer while he is defending himself against charges that could send him to prison. This will certainly affect his ability to lead the department effectively, not to mention the dark shadow that will remain on the Department and its officers until the case is over. At this point the Overmyer campaign is nothing more than an embarrassing distraction for the people of Sandusky County.
We should also consider the probability that Mr. Overmyer will be convicted of felony charges. In that case he will be removed from office and there will have to be another election. This will be a costly and time consuming affair, not to mention the shame of having an elected Sheriff removed from office because he was convicted of felony charges.
As citizens of Sandusky County we cannot stand by and allow this to happen. We must demand action from Justin Smith the Chairman of the Sandusky County Republican Party. If he continues his support of Kyle Overmyer for Sheriff, he will be complicit in a course of action that sets the stage for further embarrassment and takes attention from two serious candidates for Sheriff, Christ Hilton, and James Consolo.
Justin Smith has the power to do something right now. He can restore some dignity to the Republican Party by supporting a serious candidate for election. In doing so he will be serving the interests of all of Sandusky County’s residents. Mr. Smith should publicly reject any further support for the Overmyer campaign and should offer support for a candidate who is credible.