Letter: Simply put, we can't afford Sheriff Hodgson

Posted 6/10/22

In addition to the millions of dollars paid for legal representation of Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, in the many lawsuits brought against him and his personnel during the many years as sheriff of Bristol …

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Letter: Simply put, we can't afford Sheriff Hodgson

Posted

In addition to the millions of dollars paid for legal representation of Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, in the many lawsuits brought against him and his personnel during the many years as sheriff of Bristol County, can be added the many millions more for pension generated appointments he has made. And of course there is the incalculable cost perpetuated by the lack of meaningful programs to reduce recidivism.

Commencing in 1997 when Hodgson became the sheriff for Bristol County he launched the campaign of being tough on crime by penalizing, rather than rehabilitating, the incarcerated, at great cost to taxpayers who bear the brunt of crime and re-incarceration.

Several years later he added the “keeping our community safe from undocumented immigrants”  to his oft repeated mantras.

While hitching his star, and taxpayer monies, to white supremacist organizations, and bestowing awards and accolades on Donald Trump, he constantly travelled to other regions of the United States, spouting divisive rhetoric about immigrants.

During these fear mongering years the sheriff amassed enormous taxpayer costs by employing cronies and supporters by creating pension enhancing positions that had no relationship to management of a correctional facility. These pensions undoubtedly now figure in the millions and are almost impossible  to calculate precisely, which has enabled Hodgson to continue doling out these jobs.

In 2010 an investigative reporter, having done extensive research, wrote the following: “Hodgson himself has given out an unusually high number of special job titles that automatically qualify employees for bigger pensions… Hodgson acknowledged that some employees have seen their pensions balloon as a result of their service in his office.” (Andrea Estes, Boston Globe, 3/9/2010).

Despite the disclosure of the enormous expense of creating top-heavy administrative positions that taxpayers are ostensibly paying for to this day, Sheriff Hodgson, it is reported, is less than sensitive to the needs and merits of the correctional guards who are quitting and retiring in higher numbers than usual.

Perhaps the realization of the enormous costs and failed management policies will activate voters, including his previous supporters, to elect a new sheriff.

Betty Ussach

Dartmouth

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