Board approves previous salary

Posted 1/27/09

Even though a 10 percent hourly and salary cut was established by the previous Elbert Board of County Commissioners for all county departments, one …

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Board approves previous salary


Even though a 10 percent hourly and salary cut was established by the previous Elbert Board of County Commissioners for all county departments, one department cannot operate on those standards.

That message was delivered when Elbert County Undersheriff Shayne Heap faced the county board Jan. 21 explaining the consequences the county and the sheriff’s department will face if the 10 percent cut is continued in his department.

Heap stressed that to adhere to the 10 percent cut, the sheriff’s office is prohibited from having service 24 hours a day seven days a week due to the lack of manpower. He also said the cut would force the jail to close six days a month, which would cause a lack in revenue to the county. He said the sheriff’s office is not like other county departments that can be closed one day a week without hindering the public safety.

“Colorado state statute states that the deputies cannot work satisfactorily for the duties that are imposed upon them by working one less day a week,” he said. “It is a public safety issue.”

So, to maintain the state requirements, Heap asked the board to maintain a separate standard for the sheriff’s office by restoring their 2008 salary of 171 working hours per month. He said the lack of coverage in the county is too big of a liability to be ignored.

The board agreed with Heap, and approved the previous salary base for the office.

“Clearly we have a situation on our hands to address,” said Hope Goetz, chairman of the board.

During Heap’s presentation, he also spoke about the model traffic code, which was approved in May 2008 by the previous commissioner board. The code allows funds from fines to go directly back to the sheriff’s office into a law enforcement assistance fund. The sheriff’s office did a four-week study calculating the total amount of revenue gathered from the model traffic code. In four weeks, $100,000 was collected from a variety of fines including civil processes, traffic citations, fingerprinting and sex offender registrations.

Heap said he anticipates a total revenue of $1.5 million will be collected in 2009 and instead of the sheriff’s office keeping all the funds, Heap offered to share the money with the entire county.

But to earn the money, the sheriff’s office must first have the manpower to properly run the program. Heap is asking for at least four more positions to fill the necessary needs of the program to be successful.

“I need money to make money,” he said. “I believe given the opportunity to run this program will also significantly provide assistance to other county departments.”

Before a decision can be made, the board asked Heap to submit a written statement on the exact needs of the sheriff’s office to run the model traffic code program properly and present it at the next board meeting Jan. 28.

“The four-week study does show us what can be done with the proper staffing,” Goetz said. “I believe that is something we need to look at and I believe we really need to restore your department.”



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