LEE COUNTY, Fl. - Lee County commissioners are moving forward with plans to reduce the Sheriff's Office budget by one point five million dollars next year. But, that decision means non union employees will get a one time bonus this year.
Sheriff Mike Scott says, this one point 5 million dollar reduction will not impact their operations or public safety. He says it's less than 1 percent of their budget.
Each budget year, the Sheriff's Office is given a lump sum of money. This year, about 140 million dollars. It's up to the Sheriff how his office spends those funds. This year, Sheriff Scott had 1 point five million dollars in leftover money.
In the past, he's given that cash back to the county. But this year, he decided to put it towards a one time bonus check for his non-union employees.
"Our folks hadn't had any type of pay adjustment in three, what would've been four years running. Two, perhaps even more importantly that one, just last year, this same board approved a 3-percent pay increase for our counterparts in county law enforcement, the Port Authority," Sheriff Scott says.
But Sheriff's Scott's decision concerned commissioners because, no one else that works for the County got any raises or bonuses this year.
"The County Commission needs a consistent policy that we can apply to everybody, so this was a little different, what the Sheriff was asking and we just said we're sorry, that's just inconsistent with what we're trying to do in these budget constrained years," says Frank Mann, County Commissioner.
So Wednesday night, the board voted to trim one point 5 million dollars from the Sheriff's budget next year. That would make up for those one time bonus checks this year.