MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Sheriff David Barber informed the board of commissioners Thursday afternoon that the Fraternal Order of Police union had voted to accept a slightly modified furlough plan. Barber and the commissioners had previously hammered out a 2010 budget which would require the union patrolmen of the sheriff’s office to take 10 furlough days during the coming year in order to bridge the gaps in what is projected to be a tight budget year.
To add flexibility and make the furlough plan less burdensome, Barber tweaked the plan to change the stated furlough from “10 days” to an equivalent “80 hours,” which can be taken in days or in smaller increments. To maintain steady paychecks throughout the year, Barber said, all furlough time will be pro-rated and spread evenly over 26 pays. He said that the FOP members agreed to this plan. The commissioners praised the practical adjustment to the plan.
The union members voted unanimously to keep the jail staff working 12-hour days, Barber said, which helps keep overtime down.
“Planned overtime has been almost completely curtailed,” said Lt. David Shaffer, “Although special event overtime sometimes can’t be helped, of course.”
Barber asked if the sheriff’s office could return to receiving money from hosting out-of-county prisoners, as has been done in the past. The commissioners said that as far as they were concerned, all money coming in from such rentals always had been destined for the sheriff’s office. The money will return to being routed through the sheriff’s office so that it is available to support the department in such items as equipment purchases and miscellaneous expenses.
Commissioner Teresa Bemiller asked if the sheriff had had any luck with discussions taking place between his office and officials in Washington, D.C., about holding federal prisoners. Barber said that they were currently reviewing paperwork. He said that they were going to suggest revision of some wording in the papers, then forward them on to the county prosecutor’s office for approval. They would then contact officials in Washington to see what the next step in the process would be.