Supervisors defer approval of six new workers for jail

Carson City supervisors put off approving six new non-sworn jail workers Thursday, asking the sheriff to further analyze whether the department can pay for the additional staff.

Sheriff Kenny Furlong asked the board to approve the six positions, citing safety issues at the detention center. The proposal called for hiring two workers immediately, two more in January and the final two in the next fiscal year.

Under the plan, the department would need $113,000 in this year's budget to pay for the extra staff.

Funding the positions was pulled from the department's 2003-2004 budget after supervisors asked for a 3 percent cut, but several outside studies in the past few years have pointed out the lack of adequate staffing, Furlong said.

"By holding out on this proposal any longer than we have, we're actually doing a disservice," Furlong said.

Members of the board said the best time to propose the new staffing would have been during the budget process. Decisions by the Legislature, including raises for elected officials, and union contract issues have already obligated the city to come up with another $300,000 to $400,000 more for this year's budget, Mayor Ray Masayko said.

"I guess I say to you the time is not right to say 'here's another $113,000 that we haven't got,'" Masayko said. "This is a time to pull in your horns and do some prudent management."

Furlong said his department had $32,000 to pay for a portion of this year's cost to hire four workers, and said the department could find funding in other areas to pay for the rest.

Supervisors said they wanted more information from the sheriff after he meets with City Manager Linda Ritter about how exactly the department will pay for the proposal before it is approved.

Currently, the jail is staffed with one supervising sergeant, one officer who oversees inmates cell to cell, one officer at central control and one at the booking center. All are sworn officers. The four officers supervise approximately 133 inmates each day. Two of the officers -- one at the booking center and one at central control -- can't leave their stations.

In other action, the board also deferred Treasurer Al Kramer's proposal to rewrite an ordinance dealing with the collection of water and sewer fees. The proposal would allow the city to attach late bills to property tax bills for property owners who don't pay, instead of turning off their water.

The board directed Kramer to re-examine wording in the ordinance and resubmit the idea at a future meeting.


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