Budget cut forces layoffs at Pierce County Jail

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by ADAM MERTZ / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 24 at 7:35 PM

TACOMA, Wash.- Up to 16 corrections deputies with the Pierce County jail could be laid off by October, according to the sheriff's department. Sheriff Paul Pastor is looking at ways to save some of those jobs after the jail budget was slashed $3 million.

"I want to emphasize these are good people who put themselves at risk for you and for me," Sheriff Pastor said.

Pierce County Jail revenue dropped by $5 million this year when several cities started taking those arrested on misdemeanors elsewhere to save money, according to a county spokesperson. The county executive reports jail bookings dropped 60%. Several members of the county council said they had no other option, but to cut the jail budget.

"I feel the pain this is going to cause you and I'm sorry that the action has to be taken, but it does," councilmember Rick Talbert said.

Sheriff Pastor is now considering several options to save jobs. The county council did set aside $60,000 as an incentive for those deputies eligible for retirement, but it is unclear if this plan will work or if any deputies will voluntarily leave. The sheriff also said job sharing is an option. He said this would convert three full-time jobs into six part-time jobs.
 

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