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2 more in running to be named Hernando sheriff

BROOKSVILLE — Gov. Charlie Crist has two more candidates to consider to fill the last two years of Hernando Sheriff Richard Nugent's term.

Robert "Bobby" Sullivan, 49, retired from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office as a captain in 2007. The Brooksville resident has served as executive director of public safety for Saint Leo University since July of last year.

Brian Moore, 67, of Spring Hill is a health care consultant and peace activist who has made unsuccessful bids for Congress, Florida governor and U.S. president on the Socialist ticket.

A Brooksville native, Sullivan graduated from Hernando High School and has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Saint Leo University. He is working toward a master's in criminal justice and legal studies from the university.

While at the Pasco Sheriff's Office, Sullivan commanded as many as 60 detectives, sergeants and support staffers and oversaw a $2.5 million budget, according to his resume. He also created a local narcotics task force and a quick strike tactical narcotics team, and garnered the Pasco County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award, his resume says.

He also serves as an adjunct professor in criminal justice at Pasco-Hernando Community College.

Sullivan said Crist should give him serious consideration not just for his resume, but also for his lack of political ambition in Hernando.

Of the six candidates who have submitted applications so far, at least four have said they plan to run for the position in 2012. Among them is Mike Maurer, Nugent's chief of operations and his recommendation to Crist for interim sheriff.

Sullivan said he has no desire to run in Hernando in 2012 and could be a "neutral caretaker" for two years until the election so all candidates could start out on an equal footing.

"That way politics could be left out of it and the democratic process can be allowed to play out so that there's not an incumbent running for the office that the voters didn't put there in the first place," said Sullivan, who ran for Pasco sheriff in 2008.

Will he will try again in two years to earn the spot as Pasco's top cop? "I haven't ruled anything in or out," he said.

Moore has a master's of public administration from Arizona State University. He is chair of the NatureCoast Coalition for Peace and Justice.

In 2008, he ran for president on the Socialist Party ticket. In August, he won about 23 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary for Florida governor in August.

Moore acknowledged his lack of a law enforcement background but said he has plenty of real-world experience fighting for civil liberties.

"I come at it from a different angle," he said. "There needs to be better supervision and monitoring of the Sheriff's Office by the civilian populace, and they should be more accountable."

Moore pushed last year for an inquiry of the death of James "Little Man" Rayford, a fugitive who drowned in a Spring Hill lake trying to flee deputies in a kayak. Moore said witnesses reported that a Hernando sheriff's helicopter swooped in low and caused Rayford's kayak to capsize. An internal review determined the allegations to be unfounded.

Moore said he is seriously considering running for sheriff in 2012.

Crist's office has also received an application from Assistant State Attorney Don Barbee of Spring Hill and Al Nienhuis, who has served for nearly a decade as the undersheriff in Pasco County. Eddie McConnell, who worked at the Hernando Sheriff's Office for more than two decades and made unsuccessful bids for sheriff in 2000 and 2004, said Thursday that he has submitted the last form to complete his application.

Nugent's term ends in 2012, but he was elected to the U.S. House District 5 seat earlier this month and his resignation is effective Dec. 31.

The Governor's Office has not indicated when Crist will make a decision.

2 more in running to be named Hernando sheriff 11/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 18, 2010 8:29pm]
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