• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Riverside sheriff's union wants cut in hours, not in pay

May 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Ever since the economic downturn, Riverside County has used money from its reserve fund to help prevent layoffs in the sheriff's department.

That's been going on for years now and the reserve fund is getting dangerously low.

According to Riverside County Board of Supervisors member Jeff Stone, unless deputies take a straight 10 percent pay cut, there will be no way to avoid layoffs. He said the sheriff's union, the Riverside County Sheriff's Association, has so far refused.

"All of the employees in the county have taken a 10 percent cut in pay or benefits to try to help us through this economic crisis," Stone said. "It is the sheriff's union that has been obstinate and not wanting to partner with the county through these tough economic times."

Union officials said that's not entirely true.

Pat McNamara, the head of the association, said other departments have been given furloughs, which they would agree to as well, but a drop in base pay is unacceptable.

"Everybody has done it in the form of furloughs," he said. "It's a little different with a 24-hour law enforcement situation. We've tried to find solutions which meet the staffing needs and the needs of public safety, and at the same time are fair to employees."

One-hundred layoff notices went out early Monday, many of them to deputies and some to corrections officers at the county jail.

Unless a deal is reached soon, 500 people could lose their jobs starting in July.

Layoffs would undoubtedly affect residents in unincorporated communities in Riverside County.

In 2009, there were 1.2 deputies per thousand residents. There is currently one deputy per thousand.

If the cuts go through, that number would drop to .75 per thousand.

"These are not doomsday numbers, the sheriff has a budget that he has to live with and with that he's looking at a number of pink slips that will be given out this year," Stone said.

"Unless the budget priorities of the county are adjusted, I don't know if it's going to be avoidable," McNamara said.

Load Comments