Letter to the editor: Silberman deserves the nomination

On your upcoming Democratic Primary Ballot, you will see a line for High Bailiff. I urge you to vote for David Silberman for this office. Here’s why.

Unlike police officers, under Vermont law, the Sheriff answers to no one but the voters. But there can be a lot of time between elections. So, what happens if the Sheriff is confined, incapacitated, or violates the law? Answer: The High Bailiff steps in. The High Bailiff is the civilian oversight for the Sheriff. For that role, we need someone who is not already part of the Sheriff’s Office, looking to succeed the Sheriff. We need an external check.

David Silberman has spent hundreds of hours working on criminal justice reform. As a delegate to the Vermont Democratic Party’s 2018 Platform Convention, he led a successful effort to place greater focus on justice in the party’s public safety platform. He has been a stalwart in the years-long effort to decriminalize and regulate cannabis.

I’ve known two instances in Vermont in which a sheriff seriously abused the powers of the office to bully citizens or engage in criminal behavior. Without a vigilant High Bailiff, citizens are largely helpless in such cases. We don’t have such a problem in Addison County and let us hope we never will. But it’s not about current personalities. It’s about the system. The Roman poet Juvenal asked: Who guards the guardians? Governance works best when those entrusted with power know they’re being watched, that someone can hold them accountable.

Democrats: Let’s nominate Dave Silberman for High Bailiff.

Mike Palmer

Cornwall

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Addison County Independent