COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - It appears there won’t be as many Branch County Sheriff’s deputies laid off on January First as originally proposed. That’s the upshot of a special meeting Friday morning of the County Board of Commissioners' Finance Committee.
Sheriff-elect John Pollack and retiring Sheriff Warren Cannon presented the committee with a plan that would allow 7 deputies to stay on that were expected to be let go because of the November Sixth defeat of a millage to fund the Sheriff’s Department road patrol.
However, 7 deputies still will be out of a job with the New Year. The $300,000 that will allow for the road patrol to survive on a scaled back basis comes from a jail millage fund which holds money set aside for maintenance and infrastructure needs at the lockup.
The funds will be shuffled into the necessary line item in the sheriff’s budget with the money transfer not needing the approval of the County Commission.
But it’s only a one time, 12 month temporary fix. Sheriff-elect Pollack and the County Board are expected to collaborate on drafting another road patrol millage proposal that could go to the voters in May or sometime later in 2013.
After Friday’s meeting, Pollack said he realizes the layoffs won’t be popular but stressed that at least a partial measure of public safety and protection will be provided with the manpower to cover 2 eight hour patrol shifts
The plan still calls for the elimination of the courthouse security detail, although Pollack believes the Judges could order it to be reinstated with those officers salaries he says picked up by the courts.