After conducting an informal survey of SEARCO’s membership through many informal discussions between the union and its membership, it became very obvious to me that a clear majority of the SEARCO members fully endorse Gary Gordon as the next sheriff of Rensselaer County. The union opted to refrain from maintaining a “formal list” of SEARCO members who support Gary Gordon, and, necessarily, oppose the existing sheriff for fear of retribution with respect to those individuals who seek real change at the Rensselaer County Jail — change in the form of a new sheriff.
Everything had to be done informally in order to avoid "retribution" from Sheriff Mahar, though one presumes that an organized office should have safeguards against "retribution" built in if the union has any real power. But perhaps there are no safeguards, or else the "retribution" might not take actionable form. In the absence of statements from the rank and file, Rogers's defense must be taken on faith, depending on one's knowledge of office politics. Ideally, nothing to do with political endorsements by labor unions and other corporate entities should have to be taken on faith, and in this case a certain burden of proof rests inescapably on Rogers's shoulders unless his co-workers step up to back him up. Until then, his closing boast that he'll "refrain from ... personal attacks which only serve to create a more hostile environment at a work location that is already stressful enough" looks just a little insincere, since he's just implicitly accused Sheriff Mahar of readiness to exact retribution for political opinions. If that's not a personal attack, what is? It may be true, though that's for Rogers to prove, but it's still an attack. The ultimate proof may come if Mahar wins, but that'll be up to more people than union members to decide. A union faction may tip the balance in a party primary, but civilians will judge between Mahar and Gordon on more than the incumbent's treatment of his employees. Kevin Rogers may be entitled to speak for his co-workers, and make endorsements in their name, but on Election Day voters will speak for themselves.