CITY BEAT: JIM ROOT IS THE NEW SHERIFF IN MACON COUNTY AND WILL BE HARD TO BEAT IN NEXT ELECTION
Jim Root was sworn in as Macon County Sheriff at the Law Enforcement Center on Monday. It was a long journey for Root between the time of the 2018 election, when his opponent Tony Brown was declared the winner and sworn into office, until Monday when Root was sworn in after his victory was upheld by a judge.
In essence, Root had to win the sheriff’s office twice: once in the complete counting of votes and again in proving in a court of law that he had won the election. Brown was declared the winner in 2018 by one vote, but later, votes were discovered that actually gave Root the victory and now he has taken his rightful position in the sheriff’s office — as sheriff.
It is well to remember that neither Root or Brown were responsible for the mishandling of votes and Brown, who has been our sheriff for the past 2 1/2 years, showed real class in a recent news conference where he announced that he would be retiring from the office. Brown could have appealed the recent decision giving Root the victory, but decided the ordeal had gone on long enough and he would step aside so that Root could be sworn in as sheriff.
Root won’t have a lot of time to serve before the next election in 2022, but he should be in a strong position for re-election if he decides to run in 2022. It appeared that Howard Buffett would be his opponent in the Republican Primary Election after Buffett declared his candidacy recently, but dubious legislation at the state level regarding the qualifications of law enforcement officers resulted in Buffett deciding to suspend his candidacy not wanting to cause further controversy in the sheriff’s office. With Tony Brown retiring from the sheriff’s office, Root will not be facing two formidable candidates in 2022. Of course, others may step up to run for the office, but Root will be a tough incumbent to beat, considering everything that happened in the 2018 race aftermath.
Obviously, Root already has a lot of support because he had enough votes to win in 2018 and my guess is that many voters will give him their vote feeling that he deserves to be re-elected and to serve a full four-year term without all he had to go through leading up to becoming sheriff last week. Best wishes to Jim Root. I have no doubt that he will do a remarkable job as Macon County Sheriff Jim Root.
• KUDOS to the Decatur Park District for taking swift action to deal with some fights at the new Splash Cove. The Park Board shut the place down for the weekend and formulated some more stringent rules that should eliminate the problem in the future. (New Splash Cove policies are printed on page 11 of this week’s print edition of the Tribune and posted elsewhere on this website.) We have some really nice facilities, like Splash Cover, for families to enjoy, and we should have zero tolerance for anyone who attempts to disrupt or endanger the lives of those attending, Disrupters need to be banned from facilities and events so that local residents and out-of-town visitors can enjoy activities without being apprehensive as to what might happen. The Park Board is turning a negative into a positive by its quick action.
• A TRIBUNE staff member went grocery shopping at the Kroger Store in South Shores Friday morning and the place was nearly deserted and I’m referring to employees, too! Although the meat section was well stocked, there were a lot of empty shelves in other parts of the store. When she got ready to check out there was not a checker in sight! She indicated that she had a lot of items and didn’t feel like going through the self-checking lane but thought she had no choice. She had to get one more item and by the time she returned a checker showed up at one of the check-out lanes and checked her out — even though the light on the lane was off. I’m getting a lot of reports of stores not being able to hire employees because “no one will even apply for the available jobs”. Although not entirely to blame, the extended stimulus and unemployment compensation benefits have impacted in a negative way in finding employees to fill needed positions.
• AS YOU know by now there is no more Decatur Celebration — except the memories that live on from the 34 years it was held and, as I mentioned a few weeks ago in this column, I was there for every one of them, as either an editor or mayor. The Celebration Board issued a letter last week explaining there will not be another Celebration. (I’ve reprinted the letter in its entirety explaining what happened on page 2 of this week’s print edition.) The demise of the Celebration is not a big surprise as it struggled in recent years to keep going under the weight of financial obligations. Not being able to hold the event for two years due to the pandemic finished it off.
• BEAUTIFUL — The Central Park Fountain looks really beautiful this summer with the colorful flowers planted inbetween the bowls and waterfalls. When I am walking by in the 95 degree heat the water looks so refreshing I am tempted to jump in — but I control the urge. (smile)
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning on the City Hall Insider part of the program. I always enjoy my conversation with Brian each week as we discuss the issue impacting our community.