Harford sheriff not expected to run in fall election race

Campaign faced intimidation complaints, lack of union support

May 04, 2006|By JUSTIN FENTON | JUSTIN FENTON,SUN REPORTER

Harford County Sheriff R. Thomas Golding has called a command staff meeting for this morning at which he is expected to announce that he will not run in the fall election.

The announcement would come on the heels of a complaint this week that his staff has been intimidating employees into supporting his campaign, as well as an overwhelming vote at a recent deputies union meeting against purchasing tickets to his fundraiser scheduled for Tuesday.

Last month, a member of the command staff, Maj. L. Jesse Bane, stepped down from the department after 34 years to run for the elective job of sheriff. Two other candidates have announced intentions to run.

Golding, a Republican, was appointed to the job in 2003 by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. after Sheriff Joseph P. Meadows stepped down amid an investigation into complaints of criminal misconduct made against him by a female officer.

In Harford, the Sheriff's Office is the primary police agency, and the position of sheriff equivalent to police chief.

Under Golding, the agency has added 20 deputy positions and another 20 have been requested. In February, he unveiled a plan to help the Sheriff's Office meet the needs of Harford's fast-growing population. Among them: a new southern precinct in Edgewood and an expansion to the county detention center.

Reached at his home last night, Golding declined to comment. His spokesman said he was not aware of any forthcoming announcement.

"He's served with distinction, honor and integrity for 33 years," said spokesman Robert B. Thomas. "He's highly regarded throughout the state, and whatever plans he has for the future, I'm sure he will release when he believes they are appropriate."

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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