Jefferson County sheriff is finalist for Shelton police chief post

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County Sheriff Tony Hernandez is one of five finalists for Shelton’s police chief position.

Jefferson County Administrator Philip Morley said Hernandez had disclosed that he was a finalist for another job and could possibly leave office prior to the expiration of his term Dec. 31.

The Jefferson County sheriff is listed in a city of Shelton news release as one of the finalists who will attend an open house Aug. 26, with interviews to take place the following day.

No date was listed for the Shelton City Commission, which meets each Monday, to consider its choice.

Hernandez, 42, did not respond to requests for comment.

He had announced his plans in May not to seek another term as sheriff, citing family reasons.

This led to a contested primary race in which candidates Wendy Davis and Dave Stanko were selected to face off in the Nov. 4 general election.

Hernandez has not made an endorsement in that race.

Hernandez earns $85,015 per year and supervises a 55-member department that includes 20 patrol deputies.

The Shelton position, which is open after the retirement of Chief Dave Eklund this spring, pays between $85,250 and $105,000 per year to supervise a department with 21 full-time employees and a budget of $2.5 million, according to the job description from Prothman, an Issaquah-based search firm.

If Hernandez leaves before his term ends, the Jefferson County commissioners will appoint a person to fill out the remainder of his term.

Since Hernandez was elected as a Democrat, the county party is charged with providing three names to the Jefferson County commissioners for their consideration.

Hernandez is one of two regional candidates for the Shelton job, along with State Patrol Capt. Charles LeBlanc, who is commander of the District 1 Field Operations Bureau, which covers Pierce and Thurston counties.

The other finalists are from California: Capt. Darrin Moody of the Fairfield Police Department; Kenneth Weaver of Vacaville, whose last position was as captain with the Vallejo Police Department; and Rich Wilkinson, who serves as the chief of police and fire departments as well as city manager for Lindsay.

Democratic Party Chairman George Yount said Wednesday that the party may choose to not submit any names and allow the commissioners to select a replacement, possibly from the Sheriff’s Office.

Yount said it was unlikely the party would put forth the names of either Stanko or Davis, who are both declared Democrats, due to the difficulty of running both the campaign and the office.

The party’s precinct committee officers would have to approve that action, Yount said.

This would avoid what happened when Treasurer Judy Morris announced her retirement in April.

The Republican Party nominated three candidates who all withdrew, leading to the commissioners’ appointment of Assistant Treasurer Janet Holbrook to fill out the term.

Stacie Hoskins, who is unopposed on the general election, could be sworn in Nov. 25 after the election is certified and again Jan. 2.

According to Elections Supervisor Betty Johnson, the rules differ for the Sheriff’s Office. The interim sheriff would serve the full term, with the new sheriff sworn in at the terms’s expiration.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 14. 2014 7:02PM
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