Scot Bove (D-Holden) and Tom Foley (D-Worcester), candidates for Worcester County Sheriff, exchanged sharp comments yesterday in response to an August 15 letter Foley posted on his Web site to supporters.
In the letter, Foley charged that many jail workers opposed his candidacy because they "don’t want to act professional. They want to continue with the old practice of promotions based upon who you know or who you donate to."
That accusation brought a strong response from Bove, who defended the promotion policies at the jail in an interview with CMassPolitics.com.
"With the union contract a few years ago, anyone who wants to get promoted has to pass an exam," Bove said. "If you don’t pass the independent exam, you don’t get promoted. It just goes to show how little he knows about the business."
Reached for comment last night, Foley countered that he is not convinced that the promotional process is working the way Bove described. "I am hearing from jail workers that it is not as cut and dried as [Bove] would make it out to be...."
"I know what it's like to be promoted through an exam process. Certainly Scot is not a product of that process."
In the letter to supporters, Foley also charged that jail workers were engaged in "questionable activities" in opposition to his campaign.
"Throughout this campaign I have become aware of some questionable activities by jail employees while being on the payroll that I will follow up on if I am elected," Foley wrote.
When asked about the charges, Bove, who has been an employee at the jail for 27 years, responded, "He needs to clarify that, because I don’t have a clue what he is talking about.
"He is making some outlandish accusations, I assume, to deflect some of the things that are going on with his campaign," Bove continued. "But if there is anything going on [at the jail], he certainly should make someone aware of it--which he hasn’t done--other than in a rambling letter he posted on his website."
Yesterday, Foley responded, "I stand by the comments in my letter. It is something I will address if I am elected."
Bove and Foley will face off in the September 14 primary. The winner will face Lew Evangelidis (R-Holden) and Keith Nicholas (U-Warren) in the November 2 general election.