Cole To Run for Sheriff
Former Pine County Lieutenant Robin Cole is officially throwing his hat into the ring for the county sheriff’s position. In a letter written to the Pine County Board and Pine County citizens, Cole declared his intent to run for the position during next years election.
Cole recently filed suit against the county and current county sheriff Mark Mansavage for what he called illegalities in the department. He claims when he reported these alleged misconducts, he was terminated from his position.
The case was settled in October. Pine County and the Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust agreed to pay Cole $35,000 for a full and final resolution of his claims.
In the letter written to the county, Cole said, “I have a proven record of leadership and when elected, I will lead the Sheriff’s Office on a journey to excellence by demanding accountability at every level of service.” He added, “I look forward to a positive campaign comparing my record of experience, education and integrity to that of anyone who wishes to run against me. I will focus on positive community-based plans for the future and I look forward to many town hall meetings and debates in the coming year.”
Sheriff Mansavage declined to comment on Cole’s candidacy.
Cole’s letter to the County:
I would like to thank the Pine County Board for resolving the employment issue arising from the complaint I filed with the County Attorney against the Sheriff. As you know, soon after I filed my complaint, the Sheriff terminated my position. For the past year I have sat quietly as this matter worked its way through the system. My decision to settle revolved around two issues: I had no appetite to take money from the taxpayers of Pine County for what I believe is unethical behavior of the Sheriff and unlike him, I do not have access to public money to pay for a trial. It was my understanding that the $35,000.00 settlement I received was paid by the County’s insurance provider and although it did not fully cover my attorney’s fees, I still believe that my honor and integrity are worth more than the money it took to defend them. Although the agreement was cleverly worded, it nonetheless reversed my termination and allowed me to resign my position as Lieutenant of the Pine County Sheriff’s Office.
I have over 29 years of experience in both law enforcement and military leadership. I retired from the Army National Guard at the rank of Sergeant Major. I hold a certification by the State of Minnesota as a Director of Emergency Management, to my knowledge, no one in the Sheriff’s Office has this certification. During my career, I have held the positions of Police Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Swat Officer and Watch Commander. I have served as an elected City Council Member and as Vice President of the Minnesota National Guard Enlisted Association. I currently work as a wild land fire fighter for the DNR in Pine County and am completing a Masters Program in Public Safety Administration.
During my time with the Sheriff’s Office, I worked as a part-time civil process server, patrol deputy and finally as Lieutenant. Working in these positions gave me the opportunity to observe the agency from the bottom up. I believe that within the Sheriff’s Office there is no organizational direction or leadership, forcing deputies to work with little supervision or support. The agency employs nearly 100 people with a 6 million dollar budget and is currently led by an elected official whose resume’ is no more impressive than an entry-level police recruit.
In the past seven years, the Sheriff has allowed the reputation of his agency to deteriorate. Pine County cannot afford to have its law enforcement agency become ineffective by allowing the Sheriff to drag it down; it must be repaired. I pledge to the citizens of Pine County that if you give me the opportunity to be your Sheriff, I will restore the reputation of the Sheriff’s Office. As of November, 11, 2009 I, Robin Cole, announce my candidacy for the position of Pine County Sheriff in the 2010 General Election.
I have a proven record of leadership and when elected, I will lead the Sheriff’s Office on a journey to excellence by demanding accountability at every level of service. Over the next year I will listen to your concerns, earn your trust and be accountable to you. I look forward to a positive campaign comparing my record of experience, education and integrity to that of anyone who wishes to run against me. I will focus on positive community-based plans for the future and I look forward to many town hall meetings and debates in the coming year.