Press-Republican

Local News

September 6, 2013

Legislators berate sheriff on staff's duties

(Continued)

White told the Press-Republican later that 41 people work at the jail to cover 26 posts, but with regular days off, employees out on medical leave, vacation, sick days and regular days off, there are just 22 available to cover those posts, “so we begin four in the hole every day, and we still have to run a safe jail.” 

He said the Sheriff’s Department paid out 710 hours in overtime pay between Aug. 4 and 17 because there were not enough people for all of the required work shifts.

And that doesn’t count the outside trips that deputies make to the County Courthouse, White said, local courts or other appointment inmates might have on a given day or take into account supervision needed for visiting days at the jail where 655 people visited during the same two-week period.

‘RUN AMOK’

“You have run amok of this legislature,” Maroun hollered at the sheriff as the meeting continued. 

As he has done before, he publicly chastised Mulverhill for calling in the State Commission on Corrections at the beginning of his term in 2011, which forced the county to hire more correction officers at the jail to comply with mandated staffing numbers.

“I did my job,” the sheriff shouted back, adding that he can run the jail as he sees fit.

He said he answers to his constituency as an elected official, not to the County Legislature, even though legislators control his budget allocation.

Legislator Timothy Burpoe (D-Saranac Lake) questioned the sheriff about the daily roll call when, he said, jail staff reportedly talk about how ignorant and clueless legislators are about jail operations.

The sheriff said he’s not at every roll call but has not heard that kind of talk the times he has been present.

White, who runs roll call, told the Press-Republican after the session that legislators are bashed on occasion.

To cut the overall county budget in 2011, he said, legislators abruptly canceled an expected 3.5 percent raise that Sheriff’s Department union members expected to receive as part of a negotiated contract.

“How many people would be happy about that and speak well of the County Legislature?” White asked.

And a new contract, he added, is still being negotiated after two years.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com

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