April 17, 2014

Partly sunny

Sheriff’s office layoffs to hit 24

By ALLISON WOOD | Staff Writer

MEDINA — The number of corrections officers and road deputies will be reduced significantly when Sheriff Neil Hassinger eliminates 24 positions due to budget cuts.

County officials told Hassinger on Monday this year’s budget must be $1 million less than last year’s $9.9 million. About $750,000 of the reductions will be in staffing.

“These are going to be some things reduced that will really hurt us,” Hassinger said Thursday.

Sixteen of those positions will be full-time employees, while the rest are part time. The office employs 172 people in all departments.

Ten of the 66 corrections officers at the Medina County Jail will be laid off because a 72-bed male unit will be closed permanently. Along with closing the unit, programs such as GED and anger-management classes aimed at reducing the recidivism rate also will be cut, Hassinger said.

“We have our lowest jail population in 10 years,” he said, but with the crime rate likely to increase, the number will rise.

On road patrol, six deputies are scheduled to be laid off, which will increase response times and make it difficult to respond to some calls, Hassinger said. There are usually three deputies on the road every shift, but that will change to one or two after the layoffs, he said.

“I can’t accept the fact that we can’t respond to somebody in trouble,” Hassinger said.

Other areas that will see reductions include staffing at the Medina County Courthouse. Six part-time deputies currently are assigned to the two entrance checkpoints. Hassinger said the courthouse’s front entrance on Public Square likely will close to save the cost of placing a deputy there.

Union rules dictate part-time employees must be laid off first, he said, and the other positions are decided by department seniority. Layoff notices will not be issued until commissioners pass the budget, he said.

The county must cut more than $4 million from last year’s $39 million budget due to decreasing tax and investment revenue. The original figure was $3 million, but that rose last week due to a significant decline in the county’s investment portfolio, county Commissioner Pat Geissman said Wednesday.

These layoffs and budget cuts are happening as county commissioners finalize the $13 million expansion-renovation of the county courthouse.

“We won’t have a bed for someone a police officer arrests, but we’ll have a nice courthouse,” Hassinger said.

The county also must pay $900,000 toward construction of a parking deck behind the courthouse, which is scheduled to break ground soon. The city of Medina is paying for most of the construction costs.

Commissioners are scheduled to meet this morning to discuss the budget and will have their regularly scheduled meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

Wood may be reached at 330-721-4050 or allisonwood@ohio.net.

  • Smart One

    With these layoffs, how can the trustee’s of Brunswick Hills EVEN consider closing down the B.P.D.?
    How can we increase the existing Sheriff’s dept. area to cover and decrease it’s deputies?
    Who is going to be PROTECTING Brunswick Hills?
    I for one WILL hold the trustee’s personally accountable for any mishaps due to this absurd closing of the B.P.D. should it happen.

  • Smart One

    Look at this statement: “We won’t have a bed for someone a police officer arrests, but we’ll have a nice courthouse,” Hassinger said.

    This is absurd!!! We are INVITING the crime rate to go up at a time we know it’s going to anyway.
    As a tax paying citizen I feel I’m being ripped off and am unprotected now. The Sheriff’s dept. is at the far end of Medina and Brunswick Hills will be an open invitation to crime left abandoned while the Court house expands itself?

  • Joe Dirt

    Stupidity should be painful. Good idea, lets cut safety forces so we can have a court house that looks good for the dog and pony show. Since your cutting back have the deputies share guns what the hell your already putting them behind the 8 ball. Sheriff Hassinger, keep up the good work. You and your staff do an outsatnding job keeping this county safe.

  • rhughes

    i would like the commissioners to look at lorain county.after the sheriff were layed off.The kids in neighborhoods run all hurs of the night looking for things to break into.I think pubic safety is the most important duty in america besides protecting our country.So when you look at your new court house or parking garage.I hope it makes people want to visit medina to see it,But protecting people and watching people who have been sentenced to jail time are not important you are really showing you willingness to protect the people in your county.

  • Smart One

    Correction: it is the B.H.P.D. (Brunswick HILLS P.D.)that the trustees are considering closing down and depend on the Sheriff’s dept. that is laying off deputies. Not the B.P.D. (Brunswick P.D.).
    This is terrible and an outrage for any of this to occur. Where are our tax dollars going if not FIRST for our protection?

  • kristine

    Laying off sheriffs is such a great idea. I mean really all they do is babysit, right? why not get rid of them all, that way criminals can just get sentenced in a real nice courthouse and then just get put back on the streets. Honestly, it is a shame that one our most important jobs is being sacrificed so Medina county can have a better courthouse. It is very disappointing and aggrivating. Good luck to our country if we decide that a better court house is better than employing public law enforcement.

  • http://www.soapbox.com Common Sense

    Well, the courthouse project has been delayed, potentially costing the tax payers of Medina County hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance costs… how many jobs did that save? Not a single one. Are you folks confused? Can we now set the record straight and admit that the courthouse had nothing to do with the budget crisis?