Wednesday, July 18, 2012
TO: Mayor Alvin Brown and members of the Jacksonville City Council
From: Sheriff John Rutherford
RE: Response to the Changes in the Proposed FY 2013 Budget
Addressing the Additional Cut of $6.1 Million
Ladies and Gentlemen;
As you probably know, last Thursday, July 12, I gathered members of the local media together to review our proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2012-13). As I do each year, I reviewed all the items outlined in the document: explained them in detail; discussed savings found this year (as a result of layoffs and salary reductions); and showed exactly how we achieved all the cuts requested by the Mayor’s Office - cuts that were agreed to as they moved toward presenting the Council with his budget. The agreed to JSO budget for fiscal year 2012-13 was $364M. (See attachment - #1)
Two days ago, Monday, July 16, that budget was presented by the Mayor to the Council, and we obtained their final submitted proposed FY 2012-13 budget. I was shocked to learn that an additional extraordinary cut of $6.1M to the Sheriff’s Office is now included in the Mayor’s proposed budget, beyond what was originally agreed to in good faith, by both of our offices. When my budget chief asked about the change, Mr. Glenn Hansen of the Mayor’s Office said that there was “no time” to tell of us about this cut before the budget was presented. Yet, it appears in the printed budget book, where my staff found it. (See attachment - #2)
Needless to say, the situation now is grave. This latest budget cut, taken unilaterally, will take us beyond the closure of our third (minimum security) jail which houses a nationally acclaimed in-custody drug treatment facility (CTC), and takes us beyond the dismantling of a valued force enhancement program , the Community Service Officers (CSO).
This additional $6.1M mandated cut will result in a reduction in force of sworn of sworn police officers.
First and foremost, I have enclosed for your perusal a proposed ordinance that will come before the City Council in short order, before this budget is taken up in committee. (See attachment - #3)
In it I request that a portion of the savings my office has created this year ($6.1M) be rolled over, and essentially credited against the upcoming budget. I have stood ready to return those funds to the city. In our initially agreed to FY2012-13 budget, that portion of our savings was taken into consideration. I cannot move forward in planning without certainty that those monies are being credited back to me. That credit will essentially create a “wash” in this latest mandated cut of $6.1 million. This first scenario ensures no further layoffs of police officers.
I have enclosed for you a second scenario. As a police professional of 38 years, I certainly want to remain optimistic, but I know that good planning requires a worst case scenario for the careful consideration of those most highly impacted – our citizens. That second scenario would be if the Council does NOT pass the legislation giving JSO credit for the $6.1M portion of our savings from this year. In that case, I would then be forced to cut 114 sworn police officer positions (95 staffed police officers). (See attachment #4 – JSO Budget Reduction Summary)
I look forward to continuing to work with each of you to hopefully find a solution that doesn’t result in these draconian cuts to public safety services.
John H. Rutherford, Sheriff
Duval County, Florida