The sheriff’s office in Maricopa County will eliminate open law-enforcement positions and require unpaid time off work for employees as part of more than $17 million in budget cuts, according to a newly signed agreement.
The county faces an anticipated $138.2 million shortfall for the next fiscal year. Other county departments have laid off employees and eliminated programs, services and vacant positions.
Budget negotiations with the county sheriff’s office were stalled for months as Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his top advisers fought with county officials and the Board of Supervisors about cuts to the office’s $228 million budget — the largest piece in the county’s budget.
According to an agreement signed Thursday, the sheriff’s office must find $3.5 million in cuts through layoffs, furloughs or elimination of vacant positions — or other methods — but sheriff’s officials will determine how to find those savings.
“The chief deputy and I are adamant: We are not going to (reduce in force) any of our dedicated employees,” Arpaio said. “Our people are pretty loyal; they’ll just pitch in.”
He said many of the cuts will be achieved through furloughs, or unpaid time off work. More than 1,000 deputies and civilian workers will be asked to take 56 hours of unpaid leave this year.
The agreement also reflects cuts that will eliminate 13 vacant law-enforcement positions, pay off computers now to avoid spending money on interest, change the jails’ food-distribution system, eliminate uniform allowances, and reduce education and travel budgets.