'Robbing Peter to pay Paul': Internal memo shows impact of deputy overtime on sheriff's budget

Ten BCSO accounts had negative balance due to overtime payments


SAN ANTONIOSurging deputy overtime caused nearly a dozen Bexar County Sheriff's Office accounts into negative figures this summer, according to an internal memo obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders.

The June 3 memo, written by BCSO business manager Manuel Angeles, shows 10 accounts in the agency's technology fund had already gone over budget with four months left in the county's fiscal year.

Angeles wrote that funds with negative balances were due to budget officials removing funds to cover overtime pay, which the county refers to as Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) payments.

The memo sheds light on how the agency has moved money around in an effort to pay for overtime that they didn't budget for, particularly as county officials have repeatedly refused to specify where they were getting the money.

3 BCSO deputies racked up more than $70K in overtime last year. How?

The technology funds that went into negative figures are:

  • Sheriff's Office Administration
  • Professional Standards & Integrity
  • Court Security Budget
  • Criminal Investigations Budget
  • Patrol
  • Public Safety & Communications (Dispatch)
  • Warrants
  • Intake/Release
  • Sheriff ADC

County officials attempted to block the release of the memo in late June in response to a public information request from the Defenders. Officials claimed to the Texas Attorney General that the internal communications constituted advice, recommendations and opinions reflecting BCSO's decision-making process and therefore were not subject to open record laws.

The state attorney general's office, however, sided with KSAT and ordered the county to release the email.

Sheriff backtracks on previous memo forcing some deputies to take time off instead of paying OT

County officials, including Sheriff Javier Salazar, had previously declined to say which specific parts of the budget that money was being taken from to pay deputy overtime. Officials did say that it was coming from areas that have a smaller impact on BCSO operations.

BCSO officials declined to make Angeles available for comment, claiming the civilian employee does not provide interviews.

His memo also stated that some of BCSO's travel funds were significantly reduced because of transfers in support of FLSA.

"They are robbing Peter to pay Paul," said a BCSO source familiar with the memo.

A Defenders investigation in January showed that three deputies assigned to its community policing unit combined to make more than $71,000 in overtime pay last year.

Salazar, at the time, was adamant the money was well spent while also conceding that he realized he did not have a "bottomless pit of money" from which to draw payments.

In order to even qualify for paid overtime, a deputy must first accrue 480 hours of compensatory time, the equivalent of 60 days off of work.

A follow-up investigation from the Defenders in late March found a single deputy who made more than $68,000 in overtime last year. The figure amounted to well over double his annual salary, records show.

The deputy, assigned to west patrol, worked well over 1,100 hours guarding the perimeter of the county's adult detention center, according to his work attendance records.

While the agency had the opportunity to fund the perimeter security position in its 2019 budget, effectively cutting out the need for overtime to staff the position, it appears officials failed to do so.

MORE: 'This is the worst it's ever been': Frustration grows among Bexar County Jail deputies

In August, a memo leaked to the Defenders showed that BCSO command staff intended to selected deputies at random who had hit the 480-hour compensatory time threshold and have them take a week of paid time off.

Salazar later rescinded the memo, stating personnel would take leave only on a volunteer basis.

"While nothing precludes the administration from implementing mandatory use of leave at a later date, we fully recognize the need to ensure adequate law enforcement coverage and maintain control of crime," Salazar's new memo stated.

About the Author: