THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG
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02/23/06 Virginia Sheriffs Association not concerned with Clerks' online records issue? Why not? Is the VSA too busy taking people on hunting trips to worry about SSNs and other personal information being available online? AND look who's paying for the dues to this group - the taxpayers!
Correction made on 2/27/06....
The Virginia Sheriffs Association has NOT bothered to get involved with the online Clerks' records issue. Why not since those records held by the Virginia Circuit Court Clerks are a veritable treasure trove of personal information like Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, dates of birth, signatures, financial account numbers,
AND minor children's names? It seems since Virginia ranks near the top of the identity theft list that our Sheriffs, town/city police, and the State Police would be in there fighting to stop the online/remote access of deeds, mortgages, judgments, final divorce decrees, tax liens, name change documents, guardianship papers, Wills, etc since they
contain too much personal information - and even some about Sheriffs, Deputies, and other police officers.
When the other 107 Clerks of Circuit Court make their records available over the internet (like 14 have already done in VA), it adversely affects every law enforcement official since even Sheriffs/Deputies have mortgages with SSNs on them and some even have final divorce decrees or other documents that show their home address, etc. that can be gotten by ANYONE while sitting in their home. The online records "scheme" approved by the Virginia General Assembly puts the law enforcement folks, jailers, bailiffs, judges, single/abused women, doctors/nurses, and others at risk of many types of crimes.
So doesn't it make sense that the one group that all these Virginia Sheriffs' Departments belong would be interested in this issue and would be taking a stand and try to help stop this mess? But they're not.
Or are they too busy making plans for the next hunting trip that some Sheriffs/Deputies, Delegates and Senators will be invited to participate in? Seems so...
Virginia taxpayers pay the "dues" for their Sheriffs' Department to belong to this group, but what do the citizens get out of it? Some Delegates and Senators (and some others) get free hunting trips!
When you pay your taxes the next time, please realize there has been set aside in your locality's "line item" budget a "line" just for DUES AND ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIPS. In Hanover County for the past several years, the line number is "5600."
Here is what the citizens of Hanover County, VA paid for the Sheriff's Department to "belong" to the VA Sheriffs Association: In 2005 it was $2,533. In 2004, Hanover taxpayers paid $2,003. In 2003, they paid $1,754. In 2002, the taxpayers of Hanover paid $1,854. In 2001, they paid $1,954. In 2000, they paid $554. In 1999, they paid $459. In 1998, the amount paid to this group was only $346.
Notice the seven year increase in the payments to this group for membership "dues"....from $346 in 1998 to $2,533 in 2005! That is an increase of 732% (seven hundred and thirty two per cent).
The VA Sheriffs Association "donated" to some legislators about $8, 831 in "GIFTS, travel and other honaria" during 2005 and $21,976 in "GIFTS" in 2004 to these lawmakers. Here's an accounting of ALL years and who was the beneficiary of the "GIFTS." That's just gifts! Those people should be thanking the taxpayers who were the unwitting accomplices in those gifts.
And here are the "campaign contributions" made by the Sheriffs Association during 2005... and then "campaign contributions" made in 2004, and in 2003, and in 2002, and in 2001, and in 2000, and in 1999, and in 1998, and in 1997. Here's a link to total campaign contributions since 1996. WOW! They legislators should be thanking the TAXPAYERS since we paid the money for our Sheriffs to belong to that group...Who else "gives" to the VSA?
Here's the top dog of the group... JOHN W. JONES, Executive Director, VA Sheriffs Association, 701 E. Franklin Street, Suite 706, Richmond, VA 23219.....phone 804-225-7152. Wonder what the "taxpayers" are paying him?
(c) 2003 Ostergren, P.C. (Page Format Only)