Bert Dunn wants to be Erie County Sheriff because he's smarter than Sheriff Tim Howard, smarter than the other Democratic candidate, smarter than his supervisors, and smarter than the voters.
But there's a problem: Bert Dunn may have an MBA but he also has NCS - No Common Sense.
Dunn's most recent blunder this week cast a pall over what should have been an exciting day for him as he announced his candidacy. Instead, his ill-advised text, broadcast like a fart in church, characterized him as a pretender to the throne, an incompetent and a bit of a sneak. The text, reported widely here and in the Buffalo News, indicates that Dunn is "not a Obama or Cuomo fan" but "Ronny Reagan is my favorite president." (Ronny? Really?)
Dunn is courting the Democratic nomination for Sheriff and he is not a fan of the two highest profile Democrats for the party faithful! In his text, he cites conservative values and states "you cannot run under the conservative banner alone, you need a major party." If I were Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner, I'd be feeling a bit used about now.
This is not the first time the hapless candidate has demonstrated his NCS credentials. He began his police career with the Hamburg Police Department, but had so alienated the command staff, fellow workers and politicians in the Town, he resigned after about a year and applied to the Sheriff's Office. Apparently his stint in Hamburg was so bad that he neglected to mention it at all on his campaign Facebook page.
Early in his career as a deputy, Bert drove his patrol car off the road in a snowstorm. In WNY, this could happen to anyone. Common sense and departmental policy dictated using the radio to call for help. But not Bert; he graduate cum laude with an NCS degree. He knew better. He kept it quiet, tried to dig himself out, and lost his $1400 portable radio, which was never recovered. The report by Bert's supervisors detailed the violations, but no discipline whatsoever came from the Chief's Office.
A few years later, Bert was assigned to the North Collins Sheriff Sub-station when a call came out that required immediate attention by patrol. That would be difficult for Bert, because he was in Hamburg on Southwestern Boulevard, in the vicinity of his home and his father's Bert's Bike & Sports store. Regardless of the fact that he was not his patrol District, he responded with his lights and siren activated.
Southwestern Boulevard was heavily congested at that time, due to construction near Route 75 in Hamburg. The most interesting entry from the Accident Investigation Report was that Bert struck a car that was turning left, lost control of the patrol vehicle, left the roadway, rotated 180 degrees, entered a gas station, demolished a 200 pound floral planter and, while still traveling backwards, struck the rear of a vehicle which was being fueled up at the time. Both vehicles continued out of the gas station, leaving the female motorist unhurt, holding the nozzle of the gas pump.
Accident investigators estimated his speed as in excess of 75 MPH in a 35 MPH construction Zone. The reports from his supervisors and the Accident Investigation Unit were sent to the Chief's Office. Still, no discipline whatsoever came from the Chief's Office.
Two years ago, Bert (then a probationary Lieutenant) was asked by his supervisor to explain some overtime expenditures that had occurred on the previous shift. Rather than provide the information, he reportedly sent a series of rambling, disjointed texts to the supervisor. The texts included profanity, personal attacks on the supervisor, criticism of the entire Department and unrelated ranting. The supervisor sent a copy of the texts to the Chief's Office, noting his concerns and his recommendations concerning discipline and Bert's status as a member of the supervisory team. Again, no discipline ever came from the Chief's Office.
Bert became a permanent Lieutenant. His texting acumen, however, never improved.
In the Tuesday text, Bert stated "the Sheriff's Office is not very political." Wasn't it politics that got Pat Gallivan and Tim Howard to hire Bert after his inauspicious Hamburg stint? Wasn't it politics that prevented discipline from being imposed on Bert? And wasn't it politics that led Bert and his father to donate thousands to the Sheriff Howard's campaign - the same Sheriff he wants to replace now?
Word around the Sheriff's Office is that Lieutenant Dunn is immune due to Bert's Buck's. Fortunately, no amount of money can erase his disdain for the leadership of the Democratic Party, our Governor - and the President of the United States.
And not even his pal Ronny can erase his advanced degree in NCS - No Common Sense.