Archived Story

Layoffs imminent

Published 9:24am Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Road deputies expected to be cut

Layoffs could start this week at the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office with road deputies the likely targeted group.

“We are working on what we are going to be doing,” Sheriff Jeff Lawless said. “We are still trying to work out issues with the unions.”

In 2012 the sheriff’s office spent $858,553 for salaries for road deputies. In this year’s budget the commissioners have allotted $650,250 for that line item.

Lawless had planned to ask the commissioners for additional appropriations at their Thursday meeting. However, he went to the commission’s work session on Tuesday and did not receive any assurances for additional funding, he said.

“I went there (Tuesday) to see how serious this truly is and was told it is kind of set in stone,” Lawless said. “It is more than likely (layoffs) to be road deputies. That took the biggest hit in the budget. With the plan I am working on, I can keep the jail open at the current level. There will be significant less deputies on the road.”

Right now there are 15 deputies for the 24/7 shifts with two deputies per shift for the county.

Also reduced for 2013 has been the 911 dispatching budget, a department the sheriff’s office took over in 2012.

“There has not been a dime spent out of 911 for anything but 911,” Lawless said. “But the commissioners cut that budget $198,000. I have to figure out how to make 911 work. And there has not been the first penny from 911 to support the sheriff’s office.”

Lawless said he did not have a figure on how many deputies would be laid off, but expects notices to go out by the end of the week. The sheriff has to give union employees 60 days’ notice.

“The longer you put off laying people off, the more it costs you,” he said. “Even when you lay people off, you still have to pay people unemployment. That will come out of the budget, (along with) vacation time and comp time.”

  • bigkahuna

    Why not get some of that Obama MONEY!

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  • Ozzy

    Boy “South Point” you really have a grudge dont you. It must be sad to be so miserable.

    First it is the Commissioners fault. They cut the funding not Sheriff Lawless. He has begged them for help for years and they have not helped. He was given a budget by the commissioners and they cut the Road Deputy funding.

    Crime is on the rise in this and every county in this country. Sheriff Lawless has been working with less of a staff over his tenure than the last two sheriff’s so how is he going to fight crime any better? Now he has to do it with even less employees.

    You need to get you facts straight before you spew your hatred.

    South Point, what do you do for our county? Why dont you run for office and fix all these problems instead of hiding behind your computer.

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  • south point

    Now everybody see what happens when republicans have control!!!!

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  • south point

    It’s not the commissioners that’s at fault it’s the sheriff. And I don’t know where everyone else has been but the crime has sky rocketed ever since he has been in office. And the only reason he is still there is because nobody else ran this last time . Either shut it down or get him to resign!!!!

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  • country girl

    The good people Lawrence County should be up in arms over the lay off at either Sheriff’s office and 911. Those who know Jeff Lawless knows this is not what he wants however he has to do the job he has been elected to do. 911 has been placed in his care via the commissioners and has up to today has not made any changes at 911. The only people trashing the Sheriff has been those who do not want 911 to progress. Do you really think he wants to tell his people who have trusted him to run this office the past 4 years that they are no longer needed. Please call your Commissioners office and tell them that our County needs our road units. We can not afford a county with more clerks than Road Units. Our courthouse has more employees in each office than what our Sheriff’s office does—cut elsewhere if you must but not our Law Enforcement—Come on Commissioners don’t let this happen.

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  • LetsTakeOurCountyBack

    WSAZ is reporting that 911 director Lonnie Best has been laid off along with 14 part time dispatchers.i think that only leaves about 6 full time dispatchers to answer the 911 call 24-7. And only five full-time deputies and two part-time deputies, why road deputies and not some of the office staff and leave 911 to do the dispatching.
    Watch and see if the crime does not go sky high and all the trouble across the river start coming over to our county.
    why is the “big three” (Boggs,Pratt,Hayes) letting this happen?

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  • south point

    I strongly agree that thee 911 need to be here. They need to control it with personal capable of doing the job . That way they could go after the funding needed to run it. I thought when Lonnie was in there he done a great job . Give it back to him let him run it and do away with the sheriffs department . That is where the problem lies in the sheriff his self . You don’t see him taking a cut in pay . If his pay was a dollar an hour he would be over paid !

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  • LetsTakeOurCountyBack

    swimmingupstream is right 911 should do all dispatching.

    Then the 911 center would be able to get better and more grants and would need less of the county’s money.
    the answer is not to shut 911 dispatch down (like he wants to do)
    He wants to save money here’s some ideas:
    1. stop letting the deputies take the cruiser’s home.
    2. if you have to keep the jail MAKE THE INMATE’S WORK! (pick up trash,use them to asst. cleaning up the county’s building’s, ect.)
    3. close the jail ship the inmates to other county’s and use the jailer’s and other jail staff to do the office work(dispatching(if he MUST have it done under his roof), filing)
    4. the inmates who can’t or wont pay their jail bill put a lean on their property, and feed the inmate’s bologna, pb and j, and water its a jail not a resort. and make the employees buy their lunch.

    Other county’s that have less money than we do can work with what they get why cant we?
    Putting the people of the county in danger is not the answer.

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  • swimmingupstream

    I have a grand idea to help solve this problem. It will be shot down so fast it will make even my head “swim” but here goes anyway:

    First, the sheriff could eliminate his dispatching center and transfer those duties to the 911 center. That would free up some money and perhaps save the road deputies. We would then have a real 911 center that dispatches all public agencies, rather than the situation we have now where 911 handles fire and ems and the sheriff dispatches police calls throughout the county.

    Next, I think everyone would admit that no police department in the county has enough officers to handle the job.

    I wonder if it would be possible to pool resources and have Hanging Rock, Ironton, Coal Grove, South Point, Chesapeake, Proctorville, Athalia and the sheriff’s department combine resources into one agency whose officers would have jurisdiction anywhere in the county. As it is now, Ironton can go to Coal Grove to back up an officer there, but really has no jurisdiction once he gets there. If all officers were sheriff’s deputies under the sheriff they could go anywhere and have the proper authority to act. The county could be divided into zones and officers assigned to those zones, thus giving all areas potentially faster response times and 24 hour coverage. And if you needed a bigger response then officers from adjoining zones could be dispatched.

    Think about it.

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  • south point

    Lay the whole department off !! The Sheriff doesn’t do his job anyways you call and he is never in the office. Let the state take it over and maybe things will change. You call anywhere from in the county it takes an hour or longer to get a response! I say do away with it and save the tax payers money!!!

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  • Retro

    We don’t need Sheriff’s deputies working traffic enforcement. That should be handled by OHP. Stick to serving warrants and clearing dope dens.

    (Report comment)

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