The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is operating with a projected $ 40 million budget deficit over its $ 3.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2017-18, according to an April 10 report to the supervisory board.
The department also pays around $ 142 million in unbudgeted overtime and exceeds salaries and benefits by around $ 82 million, Los Angeles County general manager Sachi Hamai told the board on Tuesday.
In response, the board voted to hire an independent consultant to develop strategies for recruiting and retaining more MPs.
The department is trying to reduce the deficit through solutions, such as reducing overtime.
Vacancies in the department are the union’s biggest concern, said Derek Hsieh, executive director of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the sheriff’s deputy union. The county officially estimates there are around 1,100 vacancies, but Hsieh said more seats are needed for MPs.
“If they were to consider systemic overtime, it would be closer to 1,500,” he said. “We know this because we can track mandatory overtime and how many deputies are administratively reassigned from detective to other positions and forced to work in prisons or patrols to meet the daily needs of the department.”
LASD is further expected to exceed its budget by a total of $ 100 million with retiree health insurance of $ 16 million, workers’ compensation benefits of $ 36 million, severance pay of $ 28 million. and miscellaneous income of $ 20 million, according to the report.
“We owe it to the nation and our employees to fund the nation’s largest sheriff’s department,” said LASD Sheriff Jim McDonnell. “In some of our regions our budget has not increased, but the costs continue to increase. We have reached a fiscal tipping point.
Hsieh’s concerns center on administering mandatory overtime instead of people filling vacancies.
“In the long run, what ends up happening is tiring you out and demoralizing your workforce,” he said. “You create other systemic problems around it and so it becomes very ineffective. No one in the community wants to see a tired assistant who works 16 hour shifts. Our concern is that the Sheriff’s Department has not been able to hire and retain (assistants) to meet its operational needs.
Hsieh also said a deficit of MPs meant a drop in the prevalence of training, as positions would not be monitored to train new people.
The department hosts eight academy classes per year with an average class size of 80 recruits. Coupled with a 25% attrition rate in the academy, the department can hire a maximum of about 480 sworn people per year, according to a press release from Supervisor Barger’s office. However, these courses were not enough to alleviate the staff crisis.
Barger took over services such as adding patrol officers to unincorporated areas and contract towns, such as Santa Clarita.
“I appreciate the work the sheriff is doing to mitigate litigation costs and worker compensation costs,” she said at the meeting. “However, these costs are increasing.
McDonnell said he’s working on the budget realignment and working with the CEO and auditor on reviewing funding sources. A review of the use of overtime was already underway, he said.
Some suggested solutions include expanding awareness, an advertising and marketing campaign, and an in-depth review of best practices used by other law enforcement agencies for detention, including the use of allowances. and / or bonuses, according to a press release from the office.
The recruitment and retention consultant who will be hired by the CEO’s office will report in 90 days.