Friday, January 20, 2012

Never, EVER a good sign!!

Please call the Columbiana County Commissioners and complain about this!!

Sheriff warns layoffs could be coming

January 15, 2012
By TOM GIAMBRONI - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News
LISBON - There will undoubtedly be layoffs in the Columbiana County Sheriff's Office sometime this year unless additional funding is provided.
Sheriff Ray Stone said significant budget cuts, plus about $100,000 in additional expenses, equals layoffs at some point.
"It's just not going to add up. It's simple math," he said.
The sheriff's office spent $2.42 million last year, and county commissioners budgeted $2.31 million for 2012. Commissioners cut almost every county office to address the anticipated loss of $600,000 in state funding and other projected funding shortfalls.
Stone said that is bad enough, but he has three employees filing for retirement - Chief Deputy Allen Haueter, Sgt. Dan Bradley and administrative assistant Amie Hartman - which will cost him about $65,000. This represents accumulated unused sick/vacation time they are due. Of the three, only Bradley is retiring for good, while Haueter and Hartman will continue working, although their salaries were reduced 10 percent to save some money.
Bradley's position will go unfilled, however, because of budget cuts, which means there will be one less deputy available for road patrol. "That would be just one more person I'd have to lay off," Stone said.
Commissioners are also requiring a larger share of employee health insurance premium costs to come from department budgets instead of from commissioners.
Stone said his budget cut alone is the equivalent of two deputy positions, and his department is already woefully understaffed compared to other Ohio counties similar in size.
The sheriff and commissioners agreed to revisit the department's funding situation in mid year. "If there isn't going to be any more funding, I won't have a choice" but to make layoffs, Stone said.
Stone has been doing what he can to find more money within his budget to spend on general operations. In 2011 he received permission from commissioners to begin using money received for providing dispatching services to outside police and fire departments on dispatcher salaries/benefits instead of solely on equipment.
Stone has also begun tapping into an account previously used exclusively to purchase cruisers, equipment and for maintenance contracts. The money for this account comes from sheriff's fees.
The sheriff also restructured his civil division, which resulted in two more deputies being available for road patrol, but Stone said there is only so much he can do.
"I don't want to lay anyone off and I'll do what I can to not to," he said.


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