Sheriff laying off 59 Jail, Geiger employees

SPOKANE - Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich announced Tuesday afternoon that 59 corrections employees are facing layoffs due to a continuing drop in inmates held at the Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Center.

The layoffs, which take effect June 16th, hit both facilities hard. Among the layoffs are 30 corrections deputies at Geiger, 14 corrections deputies at the jail, one Contract Registered Nurse Manager, two Registered Nurses, a Trades Supervisor, Maintenance Worker, Sheriff?s Technical Assistance, Mail/Property Clerk and Inventory Officer. Six Cooks? positions were also cut.

There are two additional positions that have been cut that are presently vacant and won?t be refilled.

?Despite cutting our overtime by half in 2008, and by half again in 2009, we find ourselves in this harsh budget predicament,? Knezovich said in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

?Arrests are up this year by about one percent, so anecdotally, it appears we may have become a victim of our own success,? he added.

The problem with success is that the budget for Geiger and the Jail is based on the average daily population of 920 at both locations. However that number of inmates has dropped down to 750. A side effect of the downturn in the number of inmates being held in the county system is that the budget is facing an $8 Million deficit by year?s end.

Staff reductions shave $2 Million from that deficit while additional reductions in ?expenditures and capitol items? will save $3 Million. The additional $3 Million in shortfall will be mostly negated since the county?s Detention Services will end the year $2 Million under budget.