Sheriff Barry Virts, who has led the County of Wayne Sheriff’s Office for nearly 12 years, announced on Monday (9/21) to the County Republican committee that he does not plan to seek a fourth term in 2021.
Sheriff Virts noted that he felt the Republican committee needed to know now, so that his name did not need to appear on the ballot for a 2021 designating convention. The announcement also gives time for candidates to submit letters of intent to their respective County Committees.
Candidates for the position, who wish to appear on the Republican ticket will be vetted by members of the Town Committees and one will be designated early in 2021 for that slot.
Some of the reasons Sheriff Virts shared had to do with allowing younger members of the Sheriff’s Office to look to advancement. He felt that others needed to step up to leadership roles and he did not want to stand in the way. Virts will retire at age 65, rather than 72, as he had originally considered. His term expires 12/31/21.
Barry spoke from the heart in stating that he “loves the office, and all it entails.” He stated that he has been very proud and humbled to have served as Sheriff for the last 11 years, and for his service at the Wayne County Jail and other Sheriff Department positions before that.
Former Undersheriff and current Wayne County Administrator, Rick House, stated that the next sheriff will need extensive command experience, a good sense of finances, good interactions with the Wayne County Board of Supervisors and overall leadership qualities. He also noted the sheriff’s position would not allow for a lag time for learning and experience.
The Office of Wayne County Sheriff will be on the ballot in November 2021.
Some have already expressed interest. One is Wayne County Sheriff’s Lieutenant, Robert Milby of the Criminal Investigation Division. “Yes, I absolutely will seek the Republican nod with integrity, diligence and I will faithfully serve the residents of Wayne County.
Macedon Police Sergeant Steve MacNeal stated he will seek all party designations.
“I strongly feel that there should be no politics in law enforcement.”
Both Milby and MacNeal are registered Republicans.
The Wayne County Sheriff’s office encompasses 173 employees with an annual budget of $20,705, 837. The Sheriff’s position pays $120,911, which includes being the County’s STOP-DWI coordinator position.
As an elected official, there is no sick time, annual leave, buy backs, health reimbursement arrangement, or longevity, as there is for employees.
Sheriff Virts outlined the requirements as “Integrity, leadership, community awareness and involvement, always accessible, a collaborative and cooperative ideology, the ability to multi-task, have a sharp pencil with the budget, ability to listen and the stamina to work long hours as the position consumes your entire life.... 24/7.”
Sheriff Virts stated “I still have 15 months of work to do as I continue to meet the daily challenges as Sheriff. I remain committed to lead this Office by the professional accreditation standards we operate by and to demand the highest degree of professionalism and integrity by the employees of this Office. It has and will continue to be an honor and privilege to be your Wayne County Sheriff through the end of my term and forever.”