Persecution of Barry Babb Must End
Mint Julep Journal
6/29/09 Fayette County we have a problem. The article, “Foreclosures snag some big names in Fayette”, which appeared in a local newspaper on June 24, 2009, identified several high profile persons who were facing foreclosure of their homes. The articled stated that former candidate for Fayette County Sheriff, Barry Babb’s home located at 406 Snead Road was being foreclosed. Babb was demoted in January from captain to jailer by incoming Sheriff Wayne Hannah, and Babb’s pay was dropped commensurately.
As a candidate for Fayette County Sheriff in the 2007 Primary Election, I had an opportunity over several months to closely observe the other candidates in the race, Captain Barry Babb, Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Hannah, and Deputy Thomas Mindar. Early on, it became clear to me that among the three other candidates, Captain Barry Babb was a very competent and qualified opponent. Under former Sheriff Randall Johnson, Captain Babb commanded 60 sworn officers in 5 specialized units. He was responsible for a fleet of 63 vehicles and a 4.9 million dollar budget. During his 20 years of service with the Sheriff’s Department, Babb had worked as a patrol officer, detective, and administrator. It’s apparent that Sheriff Johnson did not view Babb as inept. All of Babb’s promotions occurred while Babb served under Sheriff Johnson. Given Babb’s professional qualifications, I like many of you was shocked to learn in January, 2009, that newly elected Sheriff Hannah had demoted such an experienced law enforcement administrator, and assigned him to work as a jailer. What a waste of talent.
Now we learn that Barry, his wife Jill, and their three sons, Jared, Jacob and Josh are about to lose their home to foreclosure. In the article, “Hannah demotes Babb in sheriff shakeup”, Sheriff Hannah never gave a reason for Babb’s demotion. Without a rational reason for demoting Babb based on his job performance, it appears that Babb was demoted because he dared to run for an elective office. In the 2007 Primary Election, only 14,312 of 68,213 registered voters cast ballots in the sheriff’s race. Babb received 4,646 votes (32.88%), Hannah received 7,116 votes (50.35%), Mindar received 389 votes (2.75%) and Dave Simmons received 1,981 votes (14.02%). Hannah’s demotion of Babb appears to be punitive, vindictive, and politically motivated.
Upon assuming office, Sheriff Hannah had every right to pick his executive team. At the most, it would have been reasonable for Sheriff Hannah to have demoted Babb to the mid-level supervisory rank of lieutenant. You may recall that Sheriff Johnson demoted former Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Jordan to lieutenant after he was accused of misconduct involving the misuse of forfeiture funds.
Citizens of Fayette County, the persecution and mistreatment of Barry Babb must not continue. Babb and his family have suffered enough. I call on Sheriff Hannah to do the right thing and reinstate Mr. Babb to a position that uses his talents and his abilities for the good of the Sheriff’s Department and Fayette County.