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Genesee County prosecutor fighting against potential loss of 7 employees

The Genesee County Board of Commissioners has one week to finalize and pass the budget.
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 5:37 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (9/23/2020) - The deadline is inching closer for the Board of Commissioners to approve Genesee County’s budget.

That includes critical funding for the Prosecutor’s Office, responsible for holding criminals accountable.

The proposed budget would mean a loss of multiple employees in that Office.

Prosecutor David Leyton fought all day Wednesday to prevent the layoffs.

He showed up at the Commissioners' meeting Wednesday morning, where they were expected to pass the budget.

Leyton spoke up, explaining the noticeable impact cuts to his Office would have on the County’s public safety.

He detailed the impact in an email to each Commissioner Tuesday night, prior to the meeting. Leyton would not speak to the specifics of the email or comment at all on this situation.

But speaking to the Commissioners at the meeting, he explained with the proposed budget, his Office is looking at a loss of $777,000, which he said was roughly the same number before the pandemic.

So for months, he said he’s been trying to figure out what to do.

He told the Commissioners he did come up with $300,000 in cuts. But, with $477,000 still hanging over his head, Leyton is facing a loss of 7 employees -- 3 assistant prosecutors and 4 secretaries.

Leyton has said in the past, his Office already operating with less employees than needed to keep up with the high crime rate in the County.

Before voting on the budget, the Commissioners expressed their concerns with not properly funding public safety.

Commissioner Brenda Clack commented, “The community doesn’t know what’s going to happen next. So all the protection that I can help secure, to make sure that we get the bad people out of this community, to me, is my responsibility.”

Commissioner David Martin added, “We need the families stronger in the community. We need stronger schools, better graduation rates, fix the underlying causes so that we don’t have to continue increasing the costs for public safety, you can actually have a better community, jobs for middle class and so forth.”

The Commissioners voted down the budget 5 to 4, finished the meeting and negotiations with Leyton ensured.

We’re still waiting to hear the outcome of that conversation. The budget goes into effect next Thursday. So, it needs to be finalized before then.

The Genesee County Sheriff also spoke to the Commissioners Wednesday. He has lost 3 positions. No one was laid off. Sheriff Chris Swanson explained when the person retired, quit, or was fired, he could not hire a replacement.

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