If elected, Democratic candidate for Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick McDermott said he would take a mobile courtroom to the Norfolk County House of Corrections to ease courthouse backlogs and reduce the inmate population during COVID-19.

“Virtual videoconferencing is inadequate to deal with the complexities of arraignments and trial proceedings during a pandemic,” he stated.

Because of COVID-19, many courtrooms have postponeed trials and reduce in-person arraignments to minimize the number of people in the courthouse at one time. As a result, the number of inmates at the House of Corrections awaiting trial has risen, which increases the risk of infection among both inmates and staff. A mobile courtroom would expedite post-arraignment proceedings and help reduce backlogs in the Trial Court that keep people in the Norfolk County House of Corrections, McDermott said.

As the current Norfolk County Register of Probate, McDermott said he has been able to make quick technological and procedural adaptations that kept the Probate Court services available to the public during COVID-19.

Bringing a mobile courtroom to the Norfolk County House of Corrections, similar to mobile arraignments provided to defendants in hospitals, will cut down on costs associated with transporting inmates to court, McDermott said.

Patrick McDermott is running against Republican incumbent Jerry McDermott for sheriff.

For more information, visit http://PatrickMcDermott.org .


County commissioner candidates to debate

Meet the candidates running for Norfolk County Commissioner at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, at an online candidate forum. The forum is co-hosted by the following Norfolk County Leagues of Women Voters: Needham, Brookline, Norwood, Sharon-Stoughton, Wellesley, and Westwood-Walpole-Dedham, in collaboration with LWV Needham at Needham High School.

Two commissioners will be elected from among the three candidates: Democratic Party nominees Joseph Shea and Richard Staiti, and independent candidate Heather Hamilton. Voter may vote for two candidates.

The Norfolk County Commissioners serve as the executive authority of the county government. The board consists of three commissioners elected for four-year terms.

The public may join the Zoom event as attendees and must register at https://bit.ly/norfolkcc. Registered attendees can watch the forum live and ask written questions during the forum. All registered attendees will receive initial and reminder emails with instructions on joining the Zoom event.

Questions also may be emailed in advance to NorfolkQuestions@gmail.com. Questions should be relevant to all candidates for the office and to current issues. Submit questions by Oct. 12.

The forum also will be live streamed at the Needham Channel https://tinyurl.com/y3y5eafo. It will be recorded and available at the Needham Channel and LWV websites.

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that does not endorse parties or candidates.

The Election is Nov. 3.

For information on all of the primary candidates, offices, and voting, visit the LWV Voter Guide at www.VOTE411.org. For more information, visit www.lwv-needham.org.


Sheriff McDermott balances budget

Norfolk County Sheriff Jerry P. McDermott said the fiscal year 2020 operating budget has finished in the black.

“I am proud that through re-prioritizing, we were able to balance the budget for the first time in nearly seven years,” McDermott said.

Jerry McDermott, the Republican incumbent,  is running against Democratic challenger Patrick McDermott in the General Election Nov. 3.

A budget review was one of the sheriff’s first priorities since taking office in December 2018. The review that was done resulted in an 11% reduction in the spending plan for fiscal year 2020, he said. This was accomplished by reducing the number of administrative positions and salaries, a reduction of professional services contracts, and deferring non-essential purchases. The Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office also saved $150,000 in utilities through an energy management project that includes solar panels, water conservation, and energy efficient lighting.


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