While every other department is proposing budget cuts, layoffs, and furloughs in an effort to meet the budget requirements of Harris County, one elected official has refused to do so. (Correction -- as noted by the Sheriff Department's official spokesman in the comments below, departments are supposed to submit such cuts but have not done so yet. Thanks, Alan.)
Sheriff Adrian Garcia said at a news conference last week that he cannot find a 10 percent cut from his current budget of $376 million. Garcia said he will not propose layoffs or furloughs.
"If I institute a 10 percent reduction without being ordered to conduct layoffs, then operations can come to a screeching halt pretty quickly," he said.
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Harris County instituted a hiring freeze about a year and a half ago. It likely has saved millions of dollars, but strained departments whose leaders, like the sheriff, say they are understaffed.
District Clerk Loren Jackson, who was defeated by Republican Chris Daniel last month, will likely stay in county government when his term expires on Dec. 31. Sheriff Adrian Garcia proposes hiring him as his chief of information technology.
Jackson is not named on the Commissioners Court agenda, but he is "the special assistant" candidate the sheriff has submitted for the Court's approval.
That would be a six-figure salary for a guy who was fired by the voters of Harris County, but immediately rehired by his political buddy. I know where we need to start the budget cutting in the Sheriff's Department -- with the "special assistant" for information technology. After all, there is a hiring freeze on.