This Email to the Editor was submitted by William J Bean IV, from Groveland. If you would like to have a letter to be considered to be published please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You hear it all the time and as we get older the expressions become more prevalent. The whispers sound something like… “Nobody wants to work hard anymore,” “Nobody wants to step up to the plate and go above and beyond,” “You just can’t count on people anymore.” I am sure you could add some of your own expressions, but some of them probably could not be published in this article. At times I am also guilty of similar thinking, but I try very hard not to be this way. The trouble comes when somebody presents themselves who is everything that you have been looking for in a person, or leader, but you turn your head and close your mind.
My mom and dad have always warned me to not talk about politics or religion because they are two things that evoke some extreme emotions. I won’t talk about both, but hopefully I am going to have you think a little about the dirty word of the past few years…politics. You can’t escape it here in Livingston County. On one side of the road is a yellow and black sign and on the other, a red and white one. That’s not what bothers me. What bothers me is when people have no idea what they are voting for. They vote for a person’s name, they vote for a friend of a friend, they vote because their spouse tells them to, or even worse, they don’t vote at all. I am also bothered when people throw stones at others for supporting a candidate. Then when you turn to elicit why you support the candidate all you get is a “because” and no other rational answer. If you have closed your mind to the Dougherty/Bean ticket and your only reason is “because,” then I ask you to continue reading.
When looking at experience you should consider that the Dougherty/Bean ticket has over 23 years of combined impeccable experience on the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department. This does not account for any of the other real life jobs or experiences in their lifetimes. During five of those years, Tom has led the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department in criminal arrests. That is definitely some positive experience that keeps our county safe. I have even heard that the Sheriff has had some pretty positive words to share about Tom in the past as well. As far as my brother Matt Bean goes, I am very biased. A few weeks ago I met a person who put things into even better perspective for me. He told me about the night my brother Matt had to talk to him about his son’s tragic death in an accident. He expressed great respect for the way my brother handled the situation. Although no amount of experience can ever prepare you for those situations, it is the way in which you handle it that defines you, not just as a police officer but as a human being.
Stories such as this exemplify the type of police officers we want serving our community. I know you would be very hard pressed to find people in which Tom and Matt have not treated with respect. In turn they are respected by those that know them. It’s not just the years of experience that make us, it is what we learn from all the experiences that have touched us. So with great respect I challenge the statement of “Experience is everything” and say “Everything is an experience.” It’s what you do with those experiences that define you as a person and a leader.
Dedication? I don’t think anyone can question that one. Both Dougherty and Bean are dedicated to Livingston County. In an age where money talks and free agency seems to be the in thing not only in baseball, basketball, and football, but also in the common work place; Dougherty/Bean have made this county their home and the place on which they want to have a positive impact. Both Tom and Matt would be at the top of any police department’s draft list, yet they are here! If you ask Tom and Matt, “Why Livingston County?” they will both tell you because they love the people they work with and that they are like family. They see great potential and dedication in the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, they love the people in the community that they serve, and they see the direction this county needs to go in order to become even greater than it already is. I feel the same way about the school that I work in, Letchworth Central School. When you feel that way, it’s more about making your workplace your second home. When it feels like that, you know it’s the place you belong. Tom and Matt belong as leaders in Livingston County. They are the future of what leaders should look like and what leaders should represent.
Integrity deals with your moral fiber, ethics, and character. Once again, if you know Tom and Matt, you can’t question this. Talk with them; come over for Sunday dinner (Lord knows my mom makes enough). If you really sat down with these two you can’t help but really like them. They have good old fashioned family values and believe that hard work really can get you where you want to go. Talk with someone in their second family the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, and ask them about Tom and Matt. What you will hear is not only respect for them, but also belief in them as individuals who could lead a police department with vision, trust, fairness, and innovation. Do me a favor and seek out people who know Tom and Matt and you will never think twice about questioning their integrity.
Let’s dig a little farther into what I believe to be important to the success of well-rounded leaders, not lifelong politicians. There is a drastic difference in the two. In times when we as people look for leaders who relate to us and can understand the difference between small town life and big city business, Tom and Matt are those people who understand the needs of this county.
Together their backgrounds are diverse and amazingly well rounded. The Dougherty/Bean families have backgrounds consisting of educators, farmers, small business owners, law enforcement, mechanics, technology specialists, musicians, small town public servants, counselors, construction workers, house wives, incredible mothers and fathers, cake decorators, baseball and basketball coaches, and that’s just a few of the things the Dougherty/Bean team brings to the table. None of this is made up and all of this is immediate family…moms, dads, brothers, and sisters. Why is this important ?…I feel the more you can relate to people and understand where they might be coming from, the better the job you can do in serving your community. How many lifelong politicians have really worked and know the struggles of real people? There may be a few, but they are far and few between. I believe that’s partially why we are in the state we are in, but that’s another story. You may ask why I grouped the two families together. If Tom Dougherty is elected, he will take Matt Bean as his Undersheriff and they will be a team, not two islands unto themselves.
I learned a lot in the past 24 years that I have spent in education at Letchworth School. Over the past 16 years, I learned under a great man, our superintendent Dr. Backer. I only mention him because he taught me a lot about leadership. He hired me as a principal and if there were two polar opposites it would be the two of us. When I really got to know him, I asked him why he hired me. He told me he had read a book that talked about successful leaders and one of the keys to success is hiring people that are different from you and challenge what you think and who you are. Hire people that compliment your weaknesses, not your strengths. He also taught me to leave your ego behind at the door and to realize that at times you will be unpopular when making the best decision to help our children and community. I strongly believe that the Dougherty/Bean combination knows what it takes to be those types of leaders. They will surround themselves with the diversity of law enforcement officers that keep them fresh with different perspectives from their own, yet with the same vision; to keep our county safer and more vibrant than ever. They will work with other agencies and town resources with respect and efficiency. They will bring people together not push them apart.
Finally, how do you accomplish all of this? Certainly not by being punitive and reactive, but by being positive and proactive! You will need to lead by example not fear. You will need to realize the value of educating the public and young people to trust in each other and work together with law enforcement to make our communities safer than ever. You need to understand the diverse needs of Livingston County, but also remember that we aren’t that different from one another when everything is said and done. We need leaders that not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk. We need leaders that listen! We need leaders that are supported by many of our past and present law enforcements (to some of the people who say this doesn’t mean anything. It means a lot!) Don’t minimize what some of our most respected officers think. In a time where the safety of our communities and children are the things we fear the most, we need leaders that think out of the box in the areas of technology, efficiency, and innovation, not those that maintain status quo until something happens.
I am sorry if I challenged your way of thinking or offended you in any way after reading this article, but I needed to address what I feel are important issues that surround the Dougherty/Bean run for Sheriff and Undersheriff in the upcoming primaries on September 10th. I will not stand idle to attacks on character that have no ground to stand on except to scare the people who aren’t willing to seek the truth or talk with Tom and Matt. This also goes out to some of my friends who I respect very much, who I talk politics, leadership, and economics with. When it all comes down to it they can’t really mean what they say, unless they believe in and support the Dougherty/Bean ticket.
One final thought….when my brother told me he had decided to accept Tom’s invitation asking him to be Undersheriff if elected, I got quiet and serious with him and told him, “Don’t do this for fame, money, or feeling more important about yourself. Don’t do it because it’s the next step in your career. Do it because you believe that it needs to be done in order to make a positive change and make the world a better place.” I also told him to make sure Tom was also doing it for the right reasons. After talking with the two of them, there is no doubt in my mind that they are doing the right thing. On September 10th please remember my favorite saying by Margret Mead “Never doubt that a concerned group of citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
William J Bean IV