Commissioners applaud sheriff's overtime reduction plan

Commissioners: Jail has been leaking money because of short staffing

bexar-county-jail

SAN ANTONIO - Members of the Bexar County Commissioners Court expressed optimism on Tuesday about Sheriff Susan Pamerleau’s plan to reduce overtime costs at the jail.

Pamerleau told commissioners she has been aggressively hiring new employees to fill vacant positions at the jail.

She said those vacancies have caused the overtime costs to skyrocket.

"We need to get to the point to where we have the same number of faces as we have spaces," Pamerleau said.

Right now, she said the jail has about 50 fewer detention officers than what is authorized.

“There will always be some level of overtime,” Pamerleau said. “What we want to get to is having manageable overtime to where we can anticipate what our requirements are.”

Before the sheriff took office, jail overtime was averaging from $85,000 to $105,000 per week.

The latest figures show a high of $106,000 in mid-February, but a dramatic drop in weeks following to as low as $44,000.

Projections for future overtime is about $66,000 weekly.

"We're continuing to bring that overtime requirement down," Pamerleau said.

Pamerleau said applicants like Mark Schroeder are being interviewed regularly and a cadet class started last week.

She is hoping to recruit more people like Latoya Loving, who has been a detention officer for 15 months and loves her job.

"You know, I do work a lot of overtime, but sometimes I do it because I volunteer to do it," Loving told the Defenders last month.

Overall, Pamerleau's plan has the backing of the commissioners court.

"The sheriff is working real hard on that and we're there to support it and it's a good day,” Precinct 2 County Commissioner Paul Elizondo said. “It's a good day in Bexar County."

Elizondo said this is one of the few times in recent memory the sheriff's office has worked with the county to come up with a plan both can live with.

“It's almost hallelujah time,” Elizondo said. “Because we've been pushing for that for many, many years.”

He said in previous sheriff's administrations, the culture just would not allow that kind of cooperation.

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