COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A union representing Franklin County-area law enforcement said Friday that its members have voted “no confidence” in Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin’s ability to carry out his duties.
The vote came from Franklin County deputies, city officers, suburban agency officers and retired officers, all members of the Fraternal Order of Police, Capital City Lodge #9. FOP President Jeff Simpson said the vote against Baldwin overwhelmingly leaned in favor of the “no-confidence” decision, and told NBC4 about perceived issues that made it come to fruition.
“The complete lack of his presence,” Simpson said. “The inability to communicate with his deputies… He takes no accountability for operational decisions within the sheriff’s office whatsoever.”
The vote against the sheriff came three weeks after a similar no-confidence vote for Chief Deputy Michael Flynn, after he sent a memo to all the sheriffs’ employees where he asked them to consider whether they are “doing the right thing,” “for the right reason,” and at “the right time.”
“What perplexes me more than anything, is how we attack each other and the ways in which we do it,” Flynn wrote in the email. “We do and say things for no reason other than to hurt and belittle each other.”
Baldwin gave a statement in response to the union’s vote against him around 1 p.m.
“The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is poised to enter a new era as we prepare to open the new, state-of-the-art James A. Karnes Corrections Center, increase and diversify our staff by more than one hundred deputies and civilians, and prepare to implement body-worn cameras,” Baldwin said. “In addition, the sheriff’s office is expanding its Wellness Initiative and creating agency-wide communications teams to ensure we are meeting employees’ needs and addressing concerns. The sheriff’s office will remain focused on moving forward in a positive direction with the goal of doing an even better job of serving the people of Franklin County.”
NBC4 also obtained a letter Baldwin sent to the union president on April 28, where he said Simpson did not show up to a face-to-face meeting to discuss concerns about the chief deputy’s duties.
“I am and have been open to discussion and conflict resolution with the FOP,” Baldwin wrote. “While I understand you disagree with my assessment of your request involving Chief Flynn, I do not see a contract violation. Furthermore, I am respectfully asking for a complete list of contractual issues, violations and concerns that FOP members within the FCSO are experiencing, and I will enure each issue receives a written response.”
Baldwin, elected as Franklin County sheriff in 2016, won reelection in 2020 for another term til 2025. He previously served as a lieutenant with the Columbus Division of Police, where he worked for 31 years.