Sheriff’s Message, Week of April 3rd
One area that routinely doesn’t get public praise is our Administrative Bureau and its employees. With only eight employees, they are unsung heroes who help administer and account for almost $12,000,000 in county spending. Struggling to provide counter service for four county-wide offices, they still are required to process civil court orders, wage garnishments, criminal reports and related documents, and process state and federally mandated documents such as CCWs, sex offender and felon registration, district court warrants, grant administration, and crime reporting statistics. The amount of work products they process each day is staggering and there is very little down time for the eight of them because most of their products are time specific as required by law.
Last year, it was a difficult decision to eliminate three administrative positions and place those positions into the grossly understaffed detention facility to mitigate county liability. It caused stress on our existing workforce and degraded services for our citizens. However, the potential monetary lawsuit far outweighed the alternative of doing nothing and leaving it status quo. We looked at volunteers helping out, and some have, such as taking over prisoner debt billing and assisting when the Fernley and Dayton substations are open. However, all of our administrative processes are complex. Additionally, you can’t mandate a volunteer to be there on a certain day and if we advertise the window will be open, then it needs to be open on that day.
This week we lost one of our valued employees, Donna Forinash, to the Fernley Municipal Court. They are getting an exceptional employee and we wish her well. We are now scrambling to hire her replacement. Donna kept the Silver Springs and Dayton windows open. Whomever we hire, we still have to spend several weeks on training.
One of the repeated sarcastic comments is that the Yerington office is open five days a week. Yes it is, because our civil, billing, and records clerks work there. Window service is not their primary duty, but when the only administrative clerk travels to Fernley, they provide window service for the Sheriff’s main office that must be open five days a week. We believe there may be funding after July 1st to hire and train up to two part time administrative clerks to get the Dayton and Fernley windows open at least three days a week. We will also be working this year towards on-line reporting and greater window service access through technology based applications.
And finally, we spent most of the week with final budget preparations and gave approximately 2 ½ hours of testimony to the commissioners. Overall, it was successful in that we received increases in an area of greatest vulnerability, full funding for deputy sheriff positions. In the past, positions were not filled to create “false savings” in order to stay within total budget restraints. While we did not get the full required funding, they did get us very close to being whole. That is a win in my book under these current economic conditions.
As always, keep the faith