As reported by KMPH on 8/18/2009 the struggle off the laid off FC correction officers continues: One after another, about 50 Fresno County correctional officers walked away from a union meeting Tuesday hoping to inch closer to a solution.
"Quite frankly, I was shocked. None of us really expected that to happen," Correctional Officer Martin said.
Officer Martin is one of 35 correctional officers who received pink slips last week.
Sheriff Margaret Mims says it was her only option after the county could not give her the $3.5 million budget she needed.
But these officers disagree.
"When we looked over the budget, and when the CAO of the county John Navarette looked over the budget, he came up with $1.2 million. And he even stated that there are many other ways to make up this budget shortfall than laying off 35 to 38 co's at the jail," Correctional Officer Robert Capps said.
Capps says the solution is simple.
"We don't need deputies to take their cars home every night. We don't need county workers to take their vehicles home or to use their vehicles to drop off their kids at daycare," Capps said.
Sheriff Mims fought back, saying the solutions are anything but easy. And the department is already operating at a bare bones level.
"We've already absorbed over $11 million in cuts. My support staff is the lowest it's been, it's about half of what it's been in past years. The executive staff is at the level of 1973," Mims said.
And she says the union should've come to the officers sides a long time ago.
"I did the best I could. I was fighting there and I was standing alone in front of the board of supervisors. The union was nowhere in sight. In fact, they made statements that were harmful. So now it's a little bit too late to make a difference," Mims said.
The union has requested a meeting with the sheriff Wednesday afternoon.
No word yet on whether not she'll accept the invitation.
Correctional officers say they have been offered other jobs within the county.
But the jobs are entry level and don't pay nearly what they're used to.
Sheriff Mims says they're looking at placing officers in positions vacant from long-term leave of absences.
A final decision is expected by Friday.
The union also says they will be meeting with the Civil Services Board on Thursday.
They say the way the layoffs were presented to some of the officers was against county rules.