Although it isn’t exactly a secret, not many of the general public know that Sheriff John Anderson, 71, has decided not to run again once his term is up at the end of 2014.
“I think it’s about time to hang it up after 53 years in law enforcement,” Anderson said Tuesday.
That leaves the field open, so whoever wants the job can begin campaigning to be ready for the primary election June 3, 2014. Deadline for filing all pre-election paperwork is March 7, 2014, according to Stephanie Sibley, head of the elections division of County Clerk Rebecca Martinez’s office.
The strongest candidate no doubt would be Undersheriff Michael Salvador, and indications are he already has made the decision to run, although he hasn’t formally announced his candidacy.
However, the political gossip circuit indicates he has begun interviewing campaign consultants.
Salvador is no stranger to grassroots politics, having been a member of the Madera Unified School District Board of Trustees for several years. His appointment as undersheriff is an indication of his competence as a law enforcement professional.
A former Madera County Sheriff’s sergeant, Betty Barker, who ran against Anderson in 2010, and later sued Anderson and the county (she lost), still may be interested.
Anderson said at least one mountain-area resident had indicated an interest in running, but Anderson didn’t know the man’s name.
Anderson will be a hard act to follow. Before beginning his four terms as sheriff, he was a California Highway Patrol commander in Fresno. In that job, he was on the cutting edge of law enforcement. It prepared him for improving the Madera County Sheriff’s Department.
“When I first went to work at the Madera County Sheriff’s Office,” he said, “my computer didn’t even have a mouse. Now, we’ve got computers in all our cars — we are a modern department.”
Anderson has known where to get grants and how to leverage his budget in the tight-money environment in which the county finds itself.
And he is a good politician, and a diplomat. He knows how to work with other elected officials from all the county’s entities. He will be difficult to duplicate.