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Three Questions – Essex County Sheriff’s Race – Mark Archer

Three Answers From Mark Archer – Independent

By William Legault

 

13692852_1753265678291212_8307552722816577969_oThe preliminary elections have passed into memory.
Mark Archer is one of two declared Independent/Unenrolled candidates. He was nice enough to be one of the seven aspirants who answered the three questions that we sent to 11 of the 13 declared candidates.
The other declared Independent candidate is Kevin Leach.  We have been unsuccessful in our attempts to contact him.

Here are the question and answers:

1. The opioid epidemic has impacted all demographics across the country.  What plans do you have to reduce recidivism among those incarcerated that are drug dependent on either a personal level or as a way to earn income?

RESPONSE :  As a former State Trooper who investigated hundreds of major drug rings, I saw the devastating impact opioids had on individuals and the entire community at large.  This is not a new problem but is gaining attention, as it should.  Most importantly it is gaining attention for the right reason.  Opioid addiction is is a health crisis that can no longer be ignored.  As Sheriff I will strengthen programs that the current Sheriff has in place but I plan to do more.
To reduce recidivism, we have to start when people first come through the doors of the Essex County House of Correction.  Inmates serve short sentences so we must utilize every opportunity to start the process of transitioning them back into the community.sT0nAov7_400x400
I plan to institute a mentor program for inmates and their families.  The mentor will be assigned to the inmate and his family throughout his/her sentence.  I will expand on access to AA/NA. These are cost effective programs and they have proven track records for results.
Once these individuals are released from their sentences, I will make  sure they have the necessary contact information so that they and their families can reach out for help when they are in crisis.  For example, I plan to institute a 24-hour hotline that will be used as a resource of referrals for services/programs/agencies that can help people in recovery.  Recovery from addiction can be a lifelong process and I will do my part to aid those in need throughout their recovery.
This will reduce recidivism and will be the most cost effective for tax payers.
I offered a press release on this issue which was published on April 26, 2016.
2.  The relationship with the corrections officers and their union has not been the best.  Would addressing that relationship be a priority of your administration?
RESPONSE:  One of my first priorities is to build bridges with the employees of Essex County HOC.  I plan to foster an environment that lets the employees know I have an open door policy.
Essex County HOC will be a place that corrections officers find to be a career path, not just a stepping stone onto something else.  I have a deep appreciation for working in unions–I was a member of the plumbers’ union(Boston Plumbers Union Local 12) and then a member of the State Police Association of Massachusetts(SPAM) and the State Police Union.
I understand that it can be a challenge for administrators and union members to find common ground; but this is more than reasonably possible.  My entire career as an attorney brought me to matters adversarial in nature; yet I found ways to brings all parties in litigation to the table, whether in meditation or arbitration, or without the need for third party intervention, to discuss ways in which the dispute could be resolved. There is always room to find common ground: it takes patience, understanding, and it takes listening to the other party’s case.14225393_925473470892673_2044331263240238292_n
The following are just some of the issues that I plan to address:
*  Routine and systematic training of CPR, tactical operations for safely removing and handling combative inmates.
*  Additional staffing levels to increase officer safety on the blocks;
*  Increased staffing levels to allow use of their earned Personal days off;
*  Fairness in promotional examinations;
*  Input into uniforms; and,
*  Recognition of employee dedication and hard work
I look forward to working with the employees of Essex County HOC and most importantly I look forward to hearing their suggestions/concerns and to work with them to address the needs of the HOC.
3.  With thousands of inmates, hundreds of employees, and a budget in excess of $60 Million, many feel the the budget lacks appropriate oversight.  Do you have any plans to to examine that budget and perhaps create additional oversight and transparency in order to show the public that the budget is well administered?
RESPONSE:  The core of my campaign’s message is transparency.  Since I decided to run for office I have met countless people who have expressed to me that they do  to know what the Sheriff does and how taxpayer dollars are spent by that office.  This is a failing of the Sheriff.
The budget needs to be available and accessible to the public.  When I am the sheriff I plan to carefully dissect the budget.  Any wasteful spending will be eliminated.  I am not a politician and have no plans to run for any other office.  This is the only public office I plan to hold.  I am not afraid to make tough decisions.  Furthermore, as an Independent, I am not beholden to any group or political affiliation.
As Sheriff, my office will  to only have an open door policy bit I intend to have an open book policy.  This will allow the public easy access to the actual expenditures of the line item budget of the sheriff.
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