Hennepin Co: Sheriff-elect Hutch agrees with Sheriff Stanek on budget reductions

“This is probably one of the only times I’ll agree with Stanek."

Edgar Linares
December 04, 2018 - 8:50 pm

Sheriffstanek.com and by Edgar Linares

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Outgoing Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and outgoing Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin are sparing over the county's 2019 budget with only a few weeks left in their terms.

“I would ask the commissioners to revisit this next year,” said Sheriff-elect Dave Hutchinson. He told WCCO Radio he’d like to revisit the budget once his team has a better understanding. He said an outgoing Sheriff and an outgoing Commissioner should not be making budget decisions for the county. “It should be the incoming Sheriff and incoming Commissioner.”

Sheriff Stanek called McLaughlin’s Amendments “controversial” and said the budget reductions will “have a lasting negative impact on public safety across the county.”

“This is probably one of the only times I’ll agree with Stanek,” said Sheriff-elect Hutchinson. “As a new sheriff I need all the available resources I could have.”

Thirteen amendments presented on November 27, 2018 by Commissioner McLaughlin show increases in the budget and decreases. Stanek said six of the amendments are troubling including Amendment 5, which decreased the budget for an additional nine detention deputies.

Earlier this year Stanek requested nine additional detention deputies, McLaughlin’s Amendment would’ve denied that request, but days later McLaughlin changed his mind.

“That was one option that I had out there, but I have withdrawn that amendment and two others,” said McLaughlin. “He is going to get nine additional deputies.”

Amendment 6 reduced the number of licensed deputies by 16 and increased the number of detention deputies by 22.

In November of 2016, Matrix consulting reviewed and recommended to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to reduce the number of licensed deputies, who cost the county more, to complement the number of detention deputies, who cost less. Also, Amendment 10 decreases the budget for  one licensed deputy in Hennepin County’s Water Patrol Unit.

Sheriff Stanek says Amendments 6 and 10 means 17 jobs and an impact to their efforts in hiring diverse law enforcement officers.

“Those sworn deputies, if you look at the numbers that are presented to the county board, we’ve increased the diversity of sworn law enforcement officers by 145-percent over the last ten years,” said Stanek. “When you reduce 17 of them that will effect public safety county-wide.”

The other Amendment concerning Sheriff Stanek is No. 8, a $1,000,000 reduction in overtime pay.

“The jail was getting overcrowded,” said McLaughlin. “Now, we have seen a marked reduction, like a 10 percent reduction, in the average number of people in the jail each night.”

The Commissioner said overcrowding “is not going to happen” and his amendment reflects that, but Stanek disagrees and said overcrowding is happening now.

“We staffed for 688 inmates in the jail, on Monday morning when I came into work for our 9 o’clock staff meeting I had 785 there. That’s 105 more than what we staffed,” said Stanek.

Sheriff-elect Hutchinson said the $1,000,000 overtime pay reduction concerns him as well, especially after last week’s jailbreak by Michael Simon, 57. Who escaped from the jail’s 7th floor and was on the run for three hours before being caught in Little Canada.

Commissioners will discuss the budget during Wednesday afternoon’s budget hearing.