For the last several days, I have read newspaper articles and letters to the editor in which former Harvey County Sheriff Byron Motter is quoted. Motter has criticized current Sheriff A.J. Wuthnow for, among other things, his “no cause” firing of personnel. Motter would like the public to believe that there was no basis whatsoever for Wuthnow’s personnel decisions. Additionally, Motter blames the department’s morale on Wuthnow.

To the best of my knowledge, Motter’s criticism is based on speculation and his having heard one side of the story. As a matter of law, employers are prohibited from commenting publicly on the basis for their decision to terminate an employee. This puts Wuthnow at a rather large disadvantage when it comes to responding to comments like Motter’s.

As for morale issues, if Motter and his supporters would take an objective look at the situation, they would recognize that their constant haranguing is, by it’s very nature, having a negative impact on morale. Perhaps if they were supportive of, if nothing else, the very laws and policies that they lived by through their many years of dedicated service, the impact that they have on the men and women of Harvey County law enforcement would not be a negative one.

In regards to Motter’s description of his disillusion with Wuthnow’s campaign and at what point his support for Wuthnow began to wane, I believe it was a personal issue, not political dissatisfaction that led to his change of heart. Motter was the consummate mentor, friend, and campaign treasurer until his daughter, hired by the sheriff’s department in May 2007, left the department this past Spring. It was at that point Motter began slowly withdrawing his support from Wuthnow and began urging Wuthnow to fire me. When Wuthnow continued to refuse, Motter sat silent as his treasurer.

There are sound political processes, laws, and policies in place that have served the people of this nation well for many, many years. I urge Motter, his supporters, and the citizens of Harvey County to allow those to function as they were designed and, to paraphrase a man for whom I once had a mountain of respect, allow the “bleeding” to stop.

— Undersheriff B.J. Tyner,

Harvey County Sheriff’s Office