Chronic overspending by Sheriff Robert Pepersack is inexcusable and a sign of "empire building," angry county officials said yesterday.
After exceeding his budget last year, the sheriff is again running in the red, by more than $100,000. As a result, County Executive Robert R. Neall has proposed state legislation this week that would require Pepersack to live within the county's budget.
"There is a history of difficulties with the sheriff not living within the means of his budget," said Neall spokeswoman Louise Hayman.Last spring, Pepersack, who provides courtroom security and prisonertransport, overspent his budget by $90,000.
Hayman also said Pepersack has been "strident" in his efforts to expand sheriff's duties.
"It really is empire-building," said Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis.
Councilman George Bachman, D-Linthicum, supported Pepersack last year. But yesterday he said, "I'm not going to give him thebenefit of the doubt this time. I want to see why he spent $178,000."
Under Sheriff Patrick Ogle blamed Neall's budget analysts for the dilemma. "There is a movement over there in the budget office to slowly erode the sheriff's office into nothing," he said.
Ogle said Neall's budget did not include money to pay for serving criminal warrants. It also provided for security in only six courtrooms, though deputies have been guarding 10, he said.