This letter is out of concern for the sheriff’s department of Harvey County. During the campaigning for the primary election for Harvey County sheriff, we read some accusations that attacked the honor and integrity of our current sheriff, A.J. Wuthnow. I do not know Mr. Wuthnow personally, and I believed the comments to be baseless mudslinging. My experience has taught me that with patience and diligence the true facts will surface and things will right themselves in the end. Many feel a perfect example of this philosophy would be the “firing” of Mr. Wuthnow by the vote of the citizens of Harvey County after 15 months of appointed service. But, their impressions may have been shaped by those same unfounded accusations.

Some of the benefit of the doubt afforded Mr. Wuthnow was lost last week as an alarming realization has begun to take shape. Mr. Wuthnow has five more months at the helm, and it seems he lacks the honor or integrity to be a gracious loser, the same honor and integrity he assured us qualified him to be sheriff.

Mr. Wuthnow has terminated a loyal employee of 14 years. This action appears on the surface to be unwarranted, inappropriate and with no explanation as to why. I am confident our county commissioners will review these events to the extent of their authority and ensure propriety as well as avoid costly legal action at the taxpayer’s expense.

I fear, however, the commissioners, or anyone else, because of the level of autonomy given elected officials may be powerless to stop any further terminations and/or major policy changes by a lame duck sheriff with a bruised ego. There seems to exist a great potential for tremendous damage with virtually no accountability. If Mr. Wuthnow’s decisions continue unchecked he stands to compromise the reputation of the sheriff’s office, the Republican Party, and even his status as an ordained minister.

My hope is this is all a misunderstanding and it is not as it appears. Again, I believe with patience and diligence the facts will surface and things will right themselves. I only pray it is before anymore lives can be turned upside down or damaged beyond repair due to shameless pride.

— Tom Bergquist, Newton