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Published: Thursday, 7/22/2010

More layoffs looming, Lucas Co. sheriff says

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Lucas County Sheriff's Office is weighing more layoffs to avoid a budget deficit.

Jail Administrator Jim O'Neal said the decision could be made next week.

"We are still determining if we can sustain the layoffs and be able to provide the services like the courts and the jail," Mr. O'Neal said.

The sheriff has laid off 26 employees so far this year.

Two-week layoff notices were delivered to 14 sheriff's employees June 11.

An additional two employees were served days later, and 10 more people were given layoff notices Friday.

The round of layoffs marks the first time in more than two decades the sheriff's office has laid off workers.

The earlier layoffs, which took effect June 26, were estimated to save the department $16,946 per notice, for a total of about $271,000. The savings will be used to help the sheriff operate within the $33,244,892 budgeted to the department in 2010.

Mr. O'Neal said the department has made significant cutbacks to live within the 2010 budget, which he said was about $4 million less than in 2009.

The sheriff's department has been working to eliminate an estimated $800,000 in red ink.

Other savings measures included reductions in overtime, voluntary furlough days, and service agreements with area townships, Mr. O'Neal said.

Sheriff James Telb last month warned of as many as 16 more layoffs in the coming weeks.

The employees who lost their jobs last month included 2 from dispatch, 3 jail counselors, and 11 officers.

The sheriff's office general fund employee count stands at about 400, which includes 34 people paid for by grants or contracts, Mr. O'Neal said.

That number is down from 529 in the fall of 2007.



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