Gasconade County’s two Republican candidates for Sheriff in the Aug. 4 Primary Election were given identical questions and asked to keep their responses to no more than 75 words. Answers …
Gasconade County’s two Republican candidates for Sheriff in the Aug. 4 Primary Election were given identical questions and asked to keep their responses to no more than 75 words. Answers exceeding that request have been edited for length. Their entire responses can be viewed at gasconadecountyrepublican.com.
• (A two-part question) If elected, will you seek a voter-supported countywide sales tax designated entirely for law enforcement and, if so, why is one needed?
• And, if so, considering this means the full amount of tax receipts remain with the sheriff’s budget, what — if any — portion of the current sheriff’s budget appropriated by the county commission could remain with the General Revenue fund?
• Would you promote a countywide sales tax designated entirely for law enforcement with the stipulation communities within the county — which have law enforcement departments or contracted patrols — share in a percentage of the receipts?
• Will you utilize resources such as the newspaper and other public outlets to inform the public about what is going on at the sheriff’s department and in the county?
• What makes you most qualified to be sheriff of Gasconade County?
• Yes, I will seek a law enforcement sales tax. Currently, deputies earn about $14 an hour with a state-funded supplement. Without this supplement, deputies will earn around $12 an hour. Much of the equipment is obsolete and in need of being replaced or upgraded. Competitive wages will be a major factor in obtaining additional officers, thus, creating better coverage of the county.
• Wording and language of such propositions is extremely important. The allotted sheriff’s budget must remain intact and the wording to such a proposal must reflect this. A law enforcement sales tax is intended to increase funds to the amount that is already allotted. Taking funds from the allotted budget to be placed into general revenue defeats the purpose altogether, or at a minimum, hinders the progress these additional funds from a sales tax would create.
• I would consider a countywide law enforcement sales tax with a percentage being shared by the municipalities within the county. However, the municipalities are in far better shape than the county. Remember, the goal of such a sales tax is to improve the sheriff’s department and make them competitive. If sharing a percentage of the sales tax would accomplish this, then I absolutely cannot rule this out.
• I intend to utilize the newspapers, as well as, social media and other public outlets to keep the county citizens informed of events within the sheriff’s office, news and other events in the county. This is part of my transparency plan. The public needs and wants to know. Using all forms of media available assures the information reaches its destination: the citizens.
• I feel my college education, experience as a leader, the military, and 25 years of law enforcement experience have prepared me to lead this department and the citizens of Gasconade County. I have served as a field training officer, instructed police recruits and served in a supervisory capacity for nearly one-third of my career. My experience as a public speaker will allow me to lead and address the public with direction and information.
Scott Eiler (R-Owensville)
• A law enforcement tax may eventually be necessary to increase deputy wages from $30,000/year to a more competitive salary. A properly written tax that would help all law enforcement officers within the county with commitment from Commissioners on how the existing budget would be affected would help recruit and retain deputies. I also plan to maintain an active reserve deputy program that would increase the number of available deputies without a substantial cost in salaries/wages.
• To answer this question fully and accurately there would have to be meetings between local law enforcement leaders, the prosecutor’s office, courts, and County Commission. A properly worded tax would have the citizens voting to support law enforcement in the County so there is an expectation the money would improve law enforcement and not shift money from the existing budget back into general revenue. That said, the prosecutor and court system are essential functions of law enforcement.
• A countywide law enforcement tax should benefit all law enforcement officers and agencies within the county. If elected, I would work with the leaders of the municipal police departments and identify needs and areas where we can work together to make our county a safer place.
• The public will absolutely be informed on the activities of the Sheriff’s Office with me as your Sheriff. The county deserves to know what deputies are doing to make our community safe. Utilizing platforms such as the newspaper, public events, neighborhood watch groups and social media platforms are all ways in which the community would be able to stay engaged with the Sheriff’s Office.
• I have over 15 years of experience, knowledge and relationships built right here in Gasconade County. When I decided to start my law enforcement career, I set a goal to become the Sheriff of Gasconade County. I have had the privilege of working in every community within our county as a law enforcement officer and that has given me great knowledge of what the citizens deserve and expect of a Sheriff.