As the temperature drops and we get closer to Halloween, the political climate in Greene County is heating up and political tricks are afoot. Last week, the Greene County Record featured a letter to the editor from a former Greene County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office employee, Matt Falwell. The contents of this letter again arrived in the homes of Greene County voters the next day in a mailer sponsored and paid for by my opponent.
This is known in the political field as an “October Surprise.” As defined, an October Surprise is any political event orchestrated (or apparently orchestrated) in the month before an election, in the hopes of affecting the outcome. However disappointed I am by the attacks being leveled against me, this letter and subsequent mailer do not come to me as a surprise. When I was elected to the position of commonwealth’s attorney in November 2017, I promised the citizens of Greene County that I would do more with less. To accomplish this goal, the office has almost doubled the number of prosecutions while decreasing the budget. We’ve challenged establishment politicians and taken a firm stand against corruption. I’m a tough boss that demands high caliber work of employees who often find themselves targeted not only by criminals, but by those who are upset that the political status quo no longer prevails in Greene County’s courts. It’s not a job that everybody is cut out for, and some of my employees have left to put their talents to work in other areas.
In last week’s letter, Mr. Falwell accuses me of, essentially, not showing up for work. I wouldn’t expect anyone to believe me without walking a mile in my shoes, but this is simply not true. The job of the commonwealth’s attorney extends far beyond the reaches of both the office and the courthouse. There is no aspect of my job that is confined to a 9-5 schedule. Whether it’s answering phone calls, responding to emails, meeting with citizens, attending to crime scenes or attending to any other needs of the citizens of Greene, I am on call for the people of Greene County 24/7 and have been for the past two years.
My role as your commonwealth’s attorney is not confined to an office, nor should it be. My family will tell you I’ve left the dinner table to take calls from officers or citizens. I’ve been called in the middle of the night to answer urgent queries from officers handling an emergency at the roadside. I’ve put my job before my family and my personal obligations without complaint, because I signed up for this job and cheerfully accept that Greene and its citizens come first.
I have worked with and continue to work with some truly great people in the commonwealth’s attorney’s office who were dedicated to working hard for the citizens of Greene County. I understand that my management style isn’t for everyone, and that this job isn’t for everyone, but no matter what comes my way I will remain dedicated to the people of Greene County above all else. I’ll keep doing more work than ever before while lowering budgets, and I’ll let the citizens be the judge of whether I’m doing the work they elected me to do in 2017.
Matthew D. Hardin
Greene County Commonwealth’s Attorney