The following statement was posted on Sheriff candidate Randy Azzato's campaign Facebook page today in response to Sheriff James Cummings' campaign's statement of Thursday. Cape Cod Today has posted the Azzato campaign's statement verbatim, as we did with Sheriff Cummings' yesterday.
STATEMENT FROM THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT RANDY AZZATO SHERIFF
Yesterday, the Cummings Committee issued a public statement questioning the employment status of Randy Azzato, Director of Security for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections and a challenger in the Barnstable County race for Sheriff. The statement makes unsubstantiated claims of malfeasance against Mr. Azzato and asks him to authorize the release of his personnel records from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
What chutzpah! Why doesn't Sheriff Cummings lead by example and release all of his personnel records, and those of his presumptive successor, Jeff Perry?
We have nothing to hide. How about Sheriff Cummings?
Perhaps Cummings doesn't want the public to know that he has no pre-release, no work-release and no step-down programs for county inmates. These programs are proven effective in reducing crime, homelessness, and drugs, and nearly every Sheriff in the country has them. He does, however, run these programs for out-of-state Federal prisoners, because his office gets a handsome financial reimbursement for it – as much as $350,000 per year. Perhaps he thinks inmates from our communities aren't worth the effort – or the money.
Perhaps Cummings doesn't want the public to know what we discovered this week – that 10 of those Federal prisoners on work-release are employed for scant wages at the Mill Store in West Yarmouth, whose owners have contributed thousands of dollars to Sheriff Cumming's election campaign.
Perhaps Cummings doesn't want the public to know that 33 inmates who graduated from his much ballyhooed Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program (RSAT) have died of drug overdoses in the past year, three in the last three weeks alone. One inmate even OD'd on heroin in the jail parking lot an hour after his release from court!
Perhaps Cummings doesn't want the public to know that female prisoners have no access to gender-specific programming, no in-facility jobs and are locked in their cells for 21 hours per day.
Perhaps Cummings doesn't want the public to know that he has paid close to $5 million in salaries and benefits to family members since 2007. That's millions of dollars for family members, zero dollars for inmate re-entry programs.
Perhaps Cummings doesn't want the public to know that just last week he took a group of Massachusetts Sheriffs and their wives on a pleasure cruise for a private retirement party on Martha's Vineyard aboard a half-million dollar, FEMA grant-funded security vessel, despite the fact that such use of the vessel is egregious fraud, a blatant violation of Federal law and a potential liability issue for the County.
Perhaps Cummings doesn't want the public to know that his hand-selected, second-in-command, Jeff Perry, is the disgraced former Wareham police officer who sat idle in his police car while his partner – on two occasions – strip-searched teenage girls at night without a warrant in isolated roadside locations. Though he claimed "he didn't know about it," he nevertheless intimidated one of the girl's parents and was ultimately forced to resign while his partner went to prison. Perhaps we should have access to all of Mr. Perry's personnel records as well. If Cummings is re-elected, he will hand the position off to Perry mid-term, so a vote for Cummings is really a vote for Perry.
Perhaps Cummings doesn't want the public to know that – just yesterday – Special Sheriff Perry and another Sheriff's deputy were caught stalking the home of a retired Department of Corrections worker whose Azzato campaign signs have been repeatedly stolen in the past week. Really, Sheriff? You dispatched the Special Sheriff and Superintendent to take down Azzato campaign signs? Apart from the illegality of it, isn't that beneath the dignity of the office?
Do we really want an administration that supports bullying, intimidation, misuse of public funds, theft of campaign signs, and stalking as a means to win an election? Do we want another six years of a Sheriff's office that is 25 years behind the times? Do we want the continued disregard of the citizens of Barnstable County and the force of law, when so much of our community is at risk from crime and drug addiction? Do we want a Sheriff's office that is nothing more than a rogue agency, totally out of control and with no accountability to the public it serves?
We expect better. Randy Azzato will serve our community, look out for our children and senior citizens, and enforce the law with the utmost diligence and propriety.
Yes, Sheriff Cummings, we will gladly tell you and the public everything you want to know about Randy Azzato, but first you should tell us what it is that you have been doing – or not doing – for the last 18 years.
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