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Cronic assured of third term with no opponent
Sheriff says he's 'blessed by community'
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0503CRONICAUD

Steve Cronic talks about being unopposed for his third term as Hall County Sheriff.

It's four more years for the sheriff. Steve Cronic made Hall County history Friday as the first local sheriff ever to be unopposed in two consecutive election cycles.

As the deadline for qualifying passed Friday afternoon with no one signing up to run against him in either the Republican primary or the November general election, the sheriff was assured of a third term.

"I'm extremely blessed," Cronic said. "I've been blessed by this community and I think my department has been, too."

"I always remember I work for the citizens and they're my boss."

Cronic said his success came from surrounding himself with "excellent people" in his department. "If there is a key, it's having the right attitude, going about our job the right way," Cronic said. "As sheriff, it's my job to make promises, but the men and women of the sheriff's office keep those promises. And I am blessed with good people."

Cronic, 50, was named the Georgia Sheriffs' Association's Sheriff of the Year in 2007.

"Steve is a consensus-builder," said Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association. "He brings a great deal of passion to the job and the community certainly respects that and respects the office of the sheriff."

"I think this shows the community is pleased with the performance and the level of professionalism there," Norris said. "He's a real leader and he's got some real leaders in that department."

Cronic first ran for sheriff in 2000, defeating Jack Canupp with 67 percent of the vote in the general election after the previous sheriff, Bob Vass, retired from the post to unsuccessfully run for a state Senate seat.

When Cronic was first elected sheriff in 2000, the annual salary was $67,400. The current salary is $127,000. Cronic oversees a budget of about $29 million, the largest single department budget in the Hall County government.

Cronic holds a masters degree in business administration and a bachelors degree in criminal justice from Brenau University. He was a Gainesville police officer and investigator for the Hall County District Attorney's Office before working as a security manager and fraud supervisor in the private sector.

Cronic acknowledged last year that he struggled over the decision to seek a third term because of how much the demands of the job cut into his family life. He said the decision was reached mutually with his wife and two children, ages 13 and 29.

"The truth of the matter is that's a decision a candidate can't make on his own -- it's a family decision," Cronic said. "Until we had a chance to pray about it together, and my family and I discussed it and came to a point where we were comfortable with it, I really couldn't make that commitment."

Norris said he believes Cronic's trust in his senior command staff in handling day-to-day operations influenced his decision to run again. "I think that was a factor, in that might allow a little extra time with the family," Norris said.

Cronic said he looks forward to "continuing to look for ways to increase the level of service" from building on school-based programs and expanding services for the elderly to strengthening partnership with local, state and federal agencies.

"We've been fortunate to see a lot of successes in the sheriff's office and we look to continue that in the next four years," Cronic said.

Cronic said his campaign staff will be returning all donations made to his campaign starting next week. The campaign collected about $23,000, much of it in donations of $100, Cronic said. "I kid that I'm the only elected official with a money-back guarantee," he said.

Cronic said one of the biggest rewards of his job is being able to realize his childhood dream. "I don't know of many people who grew up dreaming as a child of one particular job and having the chance to do that," he said. "Thanks to the citizens, I'm doing what I grew up wanting to do."

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