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No physical requirement for sheriff's job; Bove supporter backpedals on guard statement.

Byline: Lee Hammel

There is no legal requirement for a sheriff to be able to do a correction officer's work - or anything else except get elected.

That is the opinion of both a Massachusetts Sheriff's Association official and of the superintendent of the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction, which contradicts the contention previously made by a supporter of sheriff candidate Scot J. Bove.

Retired Deputy Jail Superintendent William E. Frisch said yesterday that he had been mistaken when he

said sheriffs "are required to be physically able to perform the same essential functions as a corrections officer." Mr Frisch said that while he believes a sheriff should be able to do correction officer work and that is expected, he acknowledged that he was mistaken when he said it is required.

Mr. Frisch backs Deputy Assistant Jail Superintendent Bove, who is running against Thomas J. Foley, in the Democratic primary for Worcester County sheriff. Mr. Foley is a member of the Governor's Council and a former colonel in the state police who retired on a disability pension.

Mr. Foley said the sheriff's job is an administrative one for which he has medical clearance. He said that his experience running a $250 million state agency trumps that of Mr. Bove, who said his 27 years in the jail is more valuable than Mr. Foley's time in the state police.

James Burke, deputy director of the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association, said there is no state law requiring that a sheriff be able to perform a correction officer's job. "It's between the voters and the candidates" as to who is fit to be sheriff, he said.

Worcester County Special Sheriff/Jail Superintendent Shawn P. Jenkins said, "We have a job description for every person but the sheriff." There is no job description or law setting out requirements to be sheriff, he said.

When Sheriff Guy Glodis was elected six years ago, superintendent was part of the sheriff's job, but Mr. Jenkins estimated that that changed about three years ago. A superintendent has to be able to perform the essential job of a correction officer, he said.

Mr. Bove said yesterday that the job of sheriff and superintendent traditionally had been combined. He said he was unaware that Mr. Jenkins now has the superintendent's job, noting there has been a lot of change in the organization in the past 24 months.

Mr. Bove said he thought that it was required for the sheriff to be able to do a correction officer's job and that if it is not, it should be.

Mr. Foley said people who should know better have been spreading inaccuracies, so "I'm happy that's being clarified."
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 2, 2010
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