Barnstable Sheriff Funding Fight Looms

House votes to restore Perry's Barnstable Sheriff's Department pay-off
Governor can still veto this insult to voters

A funding issue for the Barnstable County Sheriffs Office is set to grab headlines this week.

The House decided yesterday to restore $104,000 in funding that Governor Deval Patrick took away from the BCSO after the hiring of disgraced pol Jeff Perry as the #2 man in charge.

Perry whined incessantly about patronage and hacks during his campaign, yet had his own hack job waiting in the wings.

Perry, who had a shameful history as a Wareham police officer, was given the job shortly after 10th District voters rejected his candidacy for Congress. Bill Keating won the election, as voters wanted nothing to do with the evasive, obfuscating Perry.

They ended up getting him anyhow, as Barnstable County Sheriff Jim Cummings gave his good friend and campaign donor a 6 figure golden parachute. The "special sheriff" job is both important enough to merit a $110,000 annual salary, and unimportant enough that Cummings was able to keep the position unfilled for three years as Perry launched and ran his failed campaign.

Cape Cod howled in outrage. Perry's last police activity was to resign in disgrace following a series of incidents involving Scott Flanagan. Flanagan attacked and molested at least two children in Wareham while wearing a badge and a gun.

Skunks don't change their stripes.

Jeff Perry was determined to be 5 yards away from the first assault by a State Police investigation, although he claimed not to be aware that Flanagan had shoved his hands into the underwear of a screaming, crying teenage girl.

Rather than "slap the cuffs on him," Perry instead ran interference for the child molester when Flanagan attacked another local child. Perry and Flanagan made an outrageous midnight visit to the home of the second victim. The visit was not made to offer an apology. Perry threatened the girl's parents with jail time for their daughter, neglecting to realize that the marijuana which wasn't found on her was inadmissible,... seeing as it was obtained via an indecent assault on a minor.

Perry declined to file a report, even after the parents visited the station. The intervention of a Bourne cop eventually forced the issue, and Flanagan was sent to jail. Perry resigned his job and fled the state in shame.

Perry then returned and was a back-bencher in the State House before his failed bid for Congress. He was then appointed Special Sheriff for Barnstable County. This appointment was made by a friend and political donor, Barnstable County Sheriff Jim Cummings.

Governor Deval Patrick, days after Perry oozed into office, restored funding to Massachusetts sheriffs... except for Barnstable County, which got nada. "They clearly don't need that $110,000," said the Governor. The House disagreed, and restored the funding yesterday.

Will Gov. Deval Patrick 'do the right thing, again'?

However, Patrick has the ability to veto this funding. The State House, which is largely Democrat, would then have the option of overriding the veto. That vote might not go as well for Perry, a hard-core Republican. Perry whined incessantly about patronage and hacks during his campaign, yet had his own hack job waiting in the wings.

Jeff Perry and his sordid history hangs over Cape Cod like a cloud of corruption.

This will eventually force Cummings to slash services for prisoners and guards... or release Special Sheriff Jeff Perry. Cummings has already resorted to lowering the heat in the prison and cutting the food supply down, but money was No Problem when Cummings needed to provide his friend with a pension-generating position.

Patrick had his own patronage scandal when he offered 6 figures to Marian Walsh to head the state Health and Educational Facilities Authority. Walsh stepped down amid public outcry, something the shameless Perry doesn't seem able to force himself to do.

Perry's appointment as Special Sheriff nearly floored the Irony Meter when the BCSO was involved in Wareham's Operation Safe Streets. While Cummings simply HAD to be smart enough not to send his Special Sheriff across the bridge, we very nearly had a situation where Deaf Perry was overseeing the strip-searching of Wareham teens again. They even raided the high school.

Now, a special sheriff who you can't trust to run operations in the town he did all his police work in doesn't seem to be worth 6 figures to me, but Cummings appears to be immune to Logic. He's a veto away from running his department on a shoestring, all to provide a hack job for a shadowy friend of his.

Jeff Perry's sordid history hangs over Cape Cod like a cloud of corruption. He should repeat his past, and again resign in disgrace from a law enforcement position. It seems to be his destiny. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on