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Joe at SchoolYou might think that after nine months on the job, Sheriff Joe Baron was ready to hit the ground running after winning election to the offfice in November. But when you're newly elected to a constitutional office in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as the person responsible for the administration of that agency, there's a whole lot of additional legal and administrative rules and procedures that you're expected to know.

Having continued furthering his education throughout his career, Sheriff Baron would also say there's always something else to learn, and fortunately, multiple opportunities are made available for those newly elected officers to acquire that knowledge. Not only can they absorb lessons from those who came before them, but also familarize themselves with the expectations of elected officials and the rules and regulations that apply to their specific agencies.

"The two schools I attended as a new sheriff hosted by the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute (the training arm of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association) and the Virginia State Compensation Board were both great opportunities to reinforce information that I already had knowledge about and also highlighted resources available to me that I was unaware existed," said Sheriff Baron.

Sheriff Baron first attended 2 days of “New Sheriff” training presented by the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association. There were 11 newly elected sheriffs that attended the training - Sheriff Baron, along with 3 others, were already serving as sheriffs through circumstances similar to Baron's, but had also subsequently been elected to their office - and then 7 new sheriff-elects in attendance. Sheriff Baron said it was extremely informative and helpful to him as a newly elected Sheriff.

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    The VSI training for new sheriffs, called the "New Sheriff Orientation School," was conducted in Richmond on November 28 to 30, and was first and foremost an opportunity to learn from long-term Sheriffs who were part of the program.

    Some of the topics covered were:

    • Sheriffs’ Accounting Practices
    • "When you get sued”
    • Virginia Law on Conflict of Interest
    • Legal and Lawful Employment Issues Relating to Sheriffs
    • Training Requirements and Deputy Sheriffs’ Training Records

    This was followed by "New Officer Training 2017," conducted for all newly-elected constitutional officers including commonwealth's attorneys, treasurers, circuit court clerks, commissioners of the revenue, and of course, sheriffs. This training was sponsored by the State Compensation Board and The Division of Risk Management from December 13-15 also in the Richmond area.

    This training was comprised of information geared to assist newly elected constitutional officer in their roles. Topics that applied to all constitutional officers included:

    • Compensation Board Functions and Duties,
    • Lawful Employment Practices,
    • Locality Pay Plans & Budget Process, and the
    • Freedom of Information Act.

    However, additional training sessions which applied to some of the specific types of offices were also conducted.

    In the case of both of these training opportunities, newly-elected constitutional officers from accross the state were able to come together to network and learn from individuals with a tremendous collective amount of expertise and experience. The citizens of each of the localities served by these officers will benefit from the knowledge acquired by their recently-chosen public servants.

    "Both schools were well worth the time and effort," Sheriff Baron said.

    And he's not done. Sheriff Baron's next learning opportunity takes place on January 8 when he'll travel to Hanover County to attend a training session sponsored by the Constitutional Officers Training Network (COIN) on how to use the state's Budget Request and Reimbursement software system.

    The learning never ends.


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