By: Mary K. Berger
Every county sheriff receives extra money, additional to their annual budget, that is called the FOJ (Furtherance of Justice) Fund and it is equivalent to half a years salary of the sheriff.
As it is named, the FOJ Fund is for drug buys, unexpected purchases of vehicles or equipment or training and anything else that advances the furtherance of justice.
In Geauga County in 2017, that amount was almost $31,000. Sheriff Hildenbrand spent $10,474 of that $31,000 in 2017 for Community Relations Material (aka items promoting himself), $7,301 for Dues and $3,925 for Plaques/Framing.
In 2018, with an FOJ budget of $40,603, he spent $10,025 on Community Relations Material, $3,908 for Dues and $3,647 for Investigations. (Shouldn’t the annual $11 million in salaries already pay for those investigations?)
In 2019, with an FOJ budget $37,477, Hildenbrand spent another $14,430 for Community Relations Material, $4,228 for Dues, $2,000 for Leadership Geauga and $508 for Plaques/Framing.
How does $34,929 for promotional items over three years advance our Furtherance of Justice? (Were these the items he passed out at the county fair?)
What kind of dues cost $15,176 for three years?
What kind of plaques/framing cost a total of $4,621over three years?
Hildebrand treats our tax dollars as his own personal piggy bank. And NO ONE challenges any of the ways our tax dollars are spent.