Fresno County Sheriffs Agree to Salary Cuts

FRESNO, Calif.

The Fresno Deputy Sheriff Association agreed Friday night to considerable contract concessions to avoid layoffs. But, correctional officers who work inside the jail have yet to come up with their own contract compromise.

Fresno county sheriff's deputies made a $1 million decision Friday by agreeing to salary cuts, additional furlough hours and uniform concessions. Twenty three deputies who were on the chopping block will now keep their jobs.

Sheriff Margaret Mims said without this vote, public safety would have been at risk.

"So, what I'm ensuring the public is when you dial 911, you are going to get the same level of response as before this vote and that's very important," Sheriff Margaret Mims said.

Friday's vote will help fill a hole in the department's overall $3.9 million budget shortfall. But it will have no impact on the early release of jail inmates because the releases are directly connected to the number of correctional officers. And they have yet to make any contract concessions.

Dozens of them have been laid off and more are on the chopping block. As a result 951 inmates have been released from the jail.

Many hope correctional officers will agree to their own concessions so that the county can avoid releasing prisoners early.

"I can only be hopeful that they'll kinda take our lead or take the lead we've led them and say you know, maybe this is the best thing to do and forgo some things in their labor contract to make this happen," said Eric Schmidt, Deputy Sheriff Association President.

But to make an even bigger dent in their budget, the sheriff's office says it still faces an uphill battle as it tries to figure out what else to cut.

"We're still gonna bring law to the lawless and keep public safety as high as we can given what we have," said Neil Dadian, Sheriff Management Association President. "We are truly counting bullets here, so that's how far we're going, looking at our inventory and this will continue until our board meeting on Tuesday."

The sheriff's office will propose another round of cuts at that meeting. In the meantime, Sheriff Mims said she will not reduce how many hours she works but she will take a 40-hour salary cut to supplement some of the budget.

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