Thursday, September 20, 2018

Andrew Dowd

Sheriff's office exceeds overtime budget with full jail

  • mw-jail-3a-111917

    The Eau Claire County sheriff's office spent more than its allocation for overtime last year, much of it for staffing the secure jail, which has been hovering around capacity.

    Staff file photo

Being an Eau Claire County sheriff’s deputy or jailer appears to be more than a full-time job.

A year-end report for county departments showed the sheriff’s office spent 46 percent more than it had budgeted for overtime pay in 2017.

And not surprising is that a big part of that was due to the jail, which is around its capacity and struggled to fill job openings last year.

The secure jail — cellblocks that hold inmates who were recently arrested, awaiting trial, serving sentences or revoked on probation — went 61 percent over its overtime budget.

Meanwhile in the Huber work release center where inmates whose sentences allow them to leave during days for work only exceeded its overtime budget 19 percent.

All told, the sheriff’s office spent about $260,000 beyond the $562,400 it had allocated for overtime pay last year for all its operations, including traffic enforcement and courthouse security.

However, relatively mild winter driving conditions during last year helped the county balance its overtime budget.

The Highway Department only spent about a quarter of the nearly $510,000 allocated to it for overtime pay — creating more than enough room in the budget to offset the additional money spent in the sheriff’s office.

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