Oglesby, Todd Pledge Smooth Transition Ahead

BERLIN – Transition and cooperation were the catch words this week when the dust settled after another remarkably close

Worcester
County

State’s Attorney election was officially conceded by the incumbent late a week ago.

Incumbent
Worcester
County

State’s Attorney Joel Todd officially conceded to Republican challenger Beau Oglesby last Friday after the penultimate batch of absentee ballots had been counted. Todd actually picked up a little more ground after county elections officials counted roughly 122 more absentee ballots, cutting the deficit to just 90 votes. However, with as few as 50 remaining absentee, provisional and overseas ballots left to count, the writing, or more importantly, the math, was on the wall for the incumbent.

When the polls closed on Nov. 2, Oglesby led Todd by a mere 145 votes, but the deficit continued to shrink as batch after batch of absentee ballots were canvassed. The number shrunk to 90 late last week, but the deficit was too large for Todd to overcome with the small number of outstanding ballots remaining. In 2006, Todd led Oglesby by a single vote when the polls closed on Election Night and went on to win by just 14.

After what was by all accounts a tense and often nasty campaign, the mood was decidedly conciliatory this week as the familiar foes moved toward a transition. Oglesby will remain deputy state’s attorney in

Caroline

County through the end of the year and will juggle his responsibility to that position as he prepares to take on his next challenge.

“I continue to be deputy state’s attorney in

Caroline
County and I am obligated and committed to
Caroline

County through the end of December,” he said. “In the interim, I am completely committed to

Worcester

County and will work weekends, evenings and whenever else I can to get up to speed on cases pending in

Worcester. Now that I’ve caught my breath from the campaign and the election, I am redirecting my energy on the cases pending in

Worcester.”

Technically, Oglesby is to be sworn in as the new state’s attorney in

Worcester

County on the first Monday in January, but that date is a court holiday, so the swearing in ceremonies will take place the following day. With four active homicide cases in

Worcester, the county’s new top prosecutor will have to hit the ground running. For example, the murder trial for the

Pennsylvania man accused of running over his elderly mother is currently scheduled to begin on Jan.4.

“One of the homicide trials is scheduled to begin the day I’m sworn in,” said Oglesby this week. “I’m not concerned about this. Already, I have access to the reports, the evidence and the law enforcement officers involved in the case and we’ll be ready.”

Preparing for that case, along with the other homicide cases and the countless other pending cases in

Worcester makes a smooth transition imperative. Oglesby said he is already working with the incumbent.

“I’ve been in touch with Mr. Todd and we’re working together toward a smooth, seamless transition,” he said. “It’s expedient on both of us to do that in the name of justice.”

For his part, Todd reached out to his successor in an official concession letter released late last week.

“I intend to make the way as smooth for him as I can,” he said. “I pledge to the voters that during the remaining time in my term of office, I will do everything I can to prepare him for the cases and issues awaiting him on the first Monday of January 2011.”

Experience was decidedly a major campaign issue and how Oglesby handles the major cases awaiting him when he takes office will certainly come under considerable scrutiny from many in the community. The newly elected state’s attorney said this week he expects that and welcomes it.

“Scrutiny in

Worcester

County is pretty intense as it stands,” he said. “With all the media outlets in the county, I wouldn’t expect anything less. As I get closer to taking office and become more focused, I welcome the scrutiny. It would by hypocritical of me to expect anything less.”

Oglesby said he is preparing for all aspects of his new position from the prosecution of cases to the administration of the office.

“There are two major aspects of this office,” he said. “There is the prosecution aspect, which doesn’t concern me because I’ve been doing this for 13 years. The other aspect is administration and personnel. They have questions about what I’m going to do and what happens next and, understandably, they want some answers almost immediately.”

Oglesby said it was premature to comment on possible changes in personnel but said he was going into the process with an open mind.

“I am going to meet with the staff about ideas for the office and explain what direction I see it going and collect their thoughts and ideas,” he said. “I don’t know at this point what, if any, major changes will be made, and I don’t have the authority to do that anyway. I’ll make informed, educated decisions when the time comes with feedback from the people in place. It’s a two-way street.”

In his concession letter, Todd thanked everybody, from the citizens of the county to his long-time staffers and mentors and from his law enforcement colleagues to the defense attorneys, he worked with over the years.

“It has been my honor and pleasure to serve the citizens and visitors of

Worcester

County since July 1, 1985,” he said. “Justice, and only justice, has been my pursuit throughout that time. I have done the very best that I know how to do.”

Todd also reflected on his 25 years in the office and the challenges that come with being state’s attorney.

“The role of state’s attorney is at times difficult and demanding with a need, sometimes, to balance what is popular against what is ethical and what is just,” he said. “During my time in office, I have learned what is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.”

The incumbent also urged his supporters to get behind his successor in the name of a smooth transition.

“To my supporters, I ask that you put aside partisan differences and your personal support for me and work together for the common pursuit of justice,” Todd said.

Todd also reached out to the 50.2-percent or so of those county voters who did not support his re-election bid.

“To those who did not support me, I regret that I did not satisfy your view of an effective prosecutor, but I make no apologies for the decisions I made as state’s attorney,” he said. “In each and every decision, I sought to enforce the rights of the public, protect the innocent and convict the guilty.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

HTML tags are not allowed.