The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved a budget transfer of $ 40,000 to help pay for new dispatch computer training and projected deficits in the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department overtime budget.
For 2021, Fulton County has budgeted $ 222,500 for sheriff’s deputies overtime, but the department is poised to pay about $ 312,000 in overtime for the year. The county spent $ 233,220 on overtime for 2020 and $ 233,220 on overtime in 2019.
Sheriff Richard Giardino said a “perfect storm” of staff shortages in his department had caused him to burn about 70% of his overtime budget – about $ 155,750 – for sheriff’s assistants until the start. of the month of June.
“We are going past our last three years in our pace and use of overtime,” Giardino said. “We’ve had a perfect storm the last few months, between COVID-19, labor shortages, and we’ve had two officers absent for long periods, one with surgery, the other with a other medical. “
Giardino said his department should have 20 highway patrol assistants, five investigators, a captain, the county deputy sheriff and himself, which would make 29 officers in total, but he has lost eight assistants since October 2020 and s ‘expects to lose another officer for 10 months due to military engagement.
“Between October and December 31, we lost four, then we lost four between January and May,” he said. “Of the four this year, two were lateral transfers and two we were released for other reasons. Last year, two retired and two resigned to withdraw from law enforcement.
COVID-19 agent quarantines also affected the sheriff’s department in March. After successfully avoiding any positive COVID-19 cases among sheriff’s deputies in 2020, Giardino said at the time that he released two officers after contracting the virus around the same time as a major outbreak at the county jail. He said at the time that about half of the county’s highway patrol had received a COVID-19 vaccine, but never recommended or challenged that a member of his staff receive the vaccine. Giardino is one of the few local sheriffs who does not want to say if he received an injection of COVID-19. He did not estimate the impact of the virus’ overtime quarantines.
Giardino said he was able to use the salary savings from vacant MP posts to cover some of the higher-than-normal overtime costs, but he won’t be able to do so for any longer. He said his department has three new assistants who are due to start at the police academy on July 12, two new academy assistants now and two new assistants who are currently undergoing their 160 hours of field training with others. agencies. He said personnel shortages have effectively left him with 15 highway patrol officers while the county has budgeted for at least 21 of them.
He said the problem would get worse when he began providing the “recommended 24 hours of training” to MPs on the county’s new Tyler Technologies 911 computer-assisted dispatch system, known as CAD. He said the new system, which is also integrated with the Gloversville and City of Johnstown Police Departments, costs around “$ 1 million” but includes significant savings over the annual cost of the old system. ” County Impact Software.
The $ 40,000 budget transfer approved by the supervisory board on Monday came from the sheriff’s department’s “contractual” budget line, and Giardino said the savings came from money the county did not need to spend on. the old Impact distribution system.
According to the resolution, $ 29,000 will go towards overtime costs for sheriff’s assistants, $ 5,500 will go to the “extra” cost of hiring part-time sheriff’s assistants, $ 4,000 will go to hourly costs Additional staff of the sheriff’s dispatchers and $ 1,500 will go for part-time dispatcher fees.
Montgomery County also recently purchased the CAD Dispatch System from Tyler Technologies for $ 1.7 million. Sheriff Jeff Smith said in February that his county was about a year behind in purchasing the new software, but it was a necessary upgrade that should bring significant benefits over the old dispatch system and allow the Montgomery and Fulton County dispatch systems to remain compatible.
Smith said Monday his county had a total of 30 sheriff’s deputies, had never lost any deputies to COVID-19 exposures or quarantines, and had an annual overtime budget of around 100 $ 000, which they did not exceed in 2020 and do not expect to exceed in 2021 He said he does not plan to spend overtime to train MPs on the new CAD system.
“Everyone needs to be trained, but it should be minimal training because the transition shouldn’t be drastic,” Smith said. “It’s kind of a format for using Microsoft Office, and we already use that type of system, so it’s not like switching from an Apple product to a Droid product. It’s the same platform. We certainly do not allow overtime for this. We will do the training while they are working.
Giardino said comparing his personal situation to that of Montgomery County is like comparing apples to oranges because he doesn’t have all the assistants available to Smith. He said the county sheriff’s deputies contract also requires him to pay overtime for any sheriff who comes to work or to take training on what was supposed to be a day off.
“He doesn’t have to cover the extra shifts with extra people – we’re limited,” Giardino said. “I think it’s great that he doesn’t have to cover that up with overtime because if he has four or five guys so he can take people off the road to train and not be affected by overtime. “
ONE YEAR EXTENDED CONTRACT
On Monday, the Fulton County Board of Supervisors also approved a new one-year retroactive contract extension for the Fulton County Deputy Sheriffs Police Charity Association union. The contract extension gives MPs a $ 750 increase in their base salary and increases their salaries by 3%.
Fulton County Administrator Jon Stead said the contract extension deferred all provisions of the existing Sheriff’s Assistant contract. Stead said the Fulton County board of supervisors did not have a full copy of the union contract.
“To be honest with you, with the PBA contract, the PBA lead negotiator refused to provide full changes [of the contract]”Stead said.” This is going to sound silly to you, but they won’t provide full changes to the full collective agreement, which is why I don’t have a finished product for this one even though we have two contracts. in place. [since the last complete contract on file]. “
All supervisors present voted in favor of extending the contract for one year. Johnstown Ward 2 Supervisor Michael Kinowski, Gloversville Supervisor Charles Potter and Bleecker Supervisor David Howard were absent from Monday’s board meeting, but the rest of the supervisors voted in the ‘unanimity in approving the extension of the contract.
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