Four on furlough considered for return

The sheriff's department spent $38,835.66 in overtime costs so far this year.
WARREN -- Mounting overtime in the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department has caused officials to consider bringing back at least four furloughed employees.
A letter is expected to be given to commissioners today from Ernie Cook, chief of operations at the jail, and James Keating, human resource director, asking for permission to bring back some workers.
"We have to do something because we have 73 people still on layoffs, and now I found that we will have eight employees off on short- and long-term illnesses," Cook said. "We also had to put three people from the jail at the courthouse to meet minimum security staffing there. Our overtime is going way up."
He noted most of the overtime is attributed to jailers.
"We have to take people out of the jail for security at the courthouse, so we have to pay people overtime so we are covered," Cook said.
According to figures from the county auditor's office, the sheriff's department spent $23,389.31 in overtime from Jan. 1 to May 31, 2004. During that same time period this year the county spent $38,835.66.
The overtime figures were shocking to Trumbull County Commissioner James Tsagaris.
"As soon as I took a look at those numbers I told Jim Keating to get with Cook and let's get some people back to work," Tsagaris said.
He noted it's difficult for the county to save money when so much overtime is being spent.
"I would even like to bring eight people back if we can somehow afford it," Tsagaris said. "This is something we have to look at."
Earlier this year, the sheriff's department handed out layoff slips to address a $5.4 million cut in its budget due to the county's financial crisis.
Cook said he is planning on asking for four workers to return, though he's not sure when.
"I'd like to get this going right away because vacation season is here and the overtime will just get worse," Cook said.
He noted that because of union agreements he will have to bring back one deputy, two correction officers and one cook.

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