All of the officers from the Mammoth Police Department, Mono Sheriff’s Department and Mono CHP organized a Sheriff’s Candidate Forum Tuesday night at Fire Station #1 in Mammoth. They privately submitted questions. The whole affair revealed serious concerns on the part of some, denials by Sheriff Scholl and a lukewarm response from challenger Doug Northington. The evening raised more questions than answers.
Moderator, attorney Dave Hammond, read anonymous questions from officers. The evening marched through the question of 24-hour service by the Mono Sheriff’s Department. Northington supported it. Scholl said it wasn’t necessary and too expensive. Neither man wanted to take over the Mammoth Police Department. What about regrets? Northington was sad about lives lost as he tried to administer CPR. Sheriff Scholl shed what some in the audience called “crocodile tears” over the Peace Officer’s Memorial and loss of police in the line of duty. The Sheriff held firm that his biggest fear is “the loss of an officer.”
Did the Sheriff’s men really investigate the discovery of a skull near Mammoth two years ago? Sheriff Scholl said he was told it was the skull of a suicide victim. He deferred to Lt. Rob Weber who made no comment. Northington said he didn’t know about the case.
More than four people posed questions about what they called the “Good Old Boys network running the Sheriff’s Office, poor morale and favoritism.” Northington said there is “obviously a morale problem”, but he offered no details except to imply that some employees may not feel their voices are heard. He called for a fair process to choose workers for special assignments.
Sheriff Scholl said there is no Good Old Boys’ network in the Sheriff’s Department. “I don’t believe it exists,” he said. Northington said he thinks it’s there but doesn’t know the specifics. He did say there seems to be a perception of unfairness.
In contrast to the plain vanilla forum, Northington’s website says that the “morale of the Sheriff’s employees currently is at ZERO on a 1-10 scale.” The website says that under Sheriff Scholl’s direction, his workers are enforced by “bully administrators” with deputies “harassed to sign Scholl’s philosophy letter.” Northington did not raise these statements at Tuesday’s forum.