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Law Enforcement Veteran John Balloni Wants to be the Next Onondaga County Sheriff

Scott Willis

John Balloni confirmed Monday what many already suspected…that he’s running for Onondaga County Sheriff.  He’s been raising money for months, and retiring Sheriff Kevin Walsh has publicly supported Balloni as his successor.   
He told a crowd of about 50 supporters yesterday that in an age of tight budgets and sparse manpower, he wants more partnerships with local police agencies to boost community policing.  But he stopped short of a full endorsement of consolidation.  
 Balloni is a Republican who brings 37 years of experience to the race…including 23 years with the Baldwinsville Police Department, ten years at the 911 center, and four years as the chief deputy for the sheriff’s office.  He's currently collecting a pension from his years in Baldwinsville, and says being sheriff won't change that.  

John Balloni explains the reasoning behind continuing to take his pension, and how it differs from other candidates if they chose to collect while in office.

Sheriff  Kevin Walsh has been criticized for continuing to take his pension during his 20 years as sheriff.  He plans to retire at the end of his term.   Dewitt Police Chief Gene Conway has said if elected, he will not collect his pension from his 24 years in the sheriff's department.  Conway declared his intentions to seek the GOP nomination earlier this month, meaning he and Balloni could end up in a primary.   Two Democrats are also in the race…retired deputy Toby Shelley and current sheriff’s sergeant Crayg Dykes.   Both have said they would decline their pensions if elected.   

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at