LONSBERRY: Bob Green For Ontario County Sheriff

It’s got to be Bob Green.

In the Republican Primary for Ontario County sheriff, it’s got to be Bob Green.

It’s not even close.

No disrespect to Silvio Palermo, or to the party mechanism that made him the endorsed candidate, but there is such a disparity of experience between these two candidates that it’s not even close.

Bob Green has been there and done that in a career in law enforcement that stretches some 40 years. And if you think that Bob Green – in his early 60s – is too old, then settle it by a foot race.

Or a bench-press contest. Or by marksmanship scores. Or ranking on the state chief’s test. Or BMI or resting heart rate or blood pressure or by who you would want between you and a bad guy when the chips are down.

Bob Green is the man.

He has been SWAT and boat and has more years in police command than Silvio Palermo has in police work. Even now, Bob Green is a police trainer with Homeland Security. He also chairs the Ontario County Board of Supervisors public safety committee – meaning he oversees the budget of the sheriff’s department and works directly with the sheriff on policy and correlation.

Has Silvio Palermo ever been involved with any law-enforcement budget whatsoever, or the leadership of anything even remotely that large?

Not to put Palermo down. He’s a nice guy. He’s earnest. He really wants this. And maybe he’d make a good undersheriff, learning the department and the dynamic of a large, full-service police agency. He has promise.

But at this stage of their careers, men like Silvio Palermo get coffee for men like Bob Green.

And as Ontario County moves away from a legendary sheriff, it must replace him with a public servant who doesn’t need on-the-job training and who will instantly have the respect of every member of the department.

Phil Povero gave the flower of his adult life to serving the people of Ontario County, just like Bob Green.

And for Bob Green, that hasn’t just been in a law-enforcement uniform. He has spent just as many years in turnout gear as a member of the volunteer fire service. He knows that world because he is of that world, and in a county whose greatest community strength is the men and women of its fire service, having one of their own at the helm of county emergency services – as the elected sheriff – is a big deal.

Again, this isn’t to put down Silvio Palermo. His service has been noble. He is a daytime sergeant in Gates, on the other side of Monroe County. He is a good man, with still-untapped potential. But the leap from his current responsibilities to leading a large, varied and dynamic law enforcement and detention agency like the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office is illogical and unwise.

There is no law-enforcement reason why Silvio Palermo should win.

There are only political reasons.

The person who leads the sheriff’s department should be the best cop, not the best politician. Expertise in leading officers and administering their agency should trump, not expertise in managing the political committee system.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the Republican Party in Ontario County, it’s just that in this case it got it wrong, because it based its decision on the wrong things. Republican primary voters can’t make that same mistake.

The choice is clear and the consequences are huge.

Bob Green is the best cop, the best man and the best candidate.

Republican voters should put him on the November ballot by selecting him as their candidate in Thursday’s primary.

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