(08/15/13) - Tough economic times means some Mid-Michigan counties are making
tough budget choices.
Local sheriffs say that's having a major impact when it comes to their jails.
Saginaw County Commissioners are still trying to make cuts because the county is facing a $2 million budget deficit.
They are planning to eliminate a position at the Saginaw County Jail. Starting Oct. 1, the security officer position at the Saginaw County Jail will be eliminated.
Sheriff Bill Federspiel says that position will remain open, but won't be filled anytime soon.
"It puts a lot of stress and pressure on an organization to continue to manage a jail that is regularly over capacity," he said.
The Sheriff says losing a jail security officer is going to affect how the county provides services to the public.
"In my first four years, I was able to provide services to the public that they wanted, such as the critter control when there's dead carcass out on the streets, we had the inmates going out. I can't have as much of that as I once did. That's what's going to change. What's going to change is our external workforce, our external workforce inmate crew will be reduced because it takes supervision," he said.
Midland County is finding ways to cope.
The Sheriff says they were understaffed, but the county didn't have the money to hire more officers.
He reached a deal with county commissioners to move five part-time jail employees to fulltime positions.
That gives extra man-hours equivalent to two full-time employees.
"The difference it's made is it's helped us with a little bit of coverage, we were able to take two of those positions and overlap the shifts so we don't drop anything in between shifts so that information is passed on more fluidly and it makes the operation more efficient," said Sheriff Scott Stephenson.
As for the sheriff of Saginaw County; his jail is the sixth largest jail in the state.
He says his department needs as much help as it can get.
ABC12 Main Station