Why Sheriff Overtime Was Up Last SummerI read with great...


October 23, 1994

Why Sheriff Overtime Was Up Last Summer

I read with great interest the article in The Sun for Harford County (Oct. 9) in which Joseph Meadows criticized my agency's consumption of overtime. It is precisely what I would have expected from someone with no police experience, no corrections experience, no administrative experience and, most importantly, no budget experience.

I have been planning police budgets for more than 20 years and never once have I gone over budget. This year will be no exception, despite the fact, as you correctly point out, I have spent about 39 percent of this year's overtime budget in the first three months of the fiscal year. In fact, this is exactly where I expected our overtime budget to be when I planned it. Why?

Never having planned a budget nor managed a police agency (or any large organization for that matter), Mr. Meadows fails to appreciate that July and August are, predictably, the two heaviest months of the year for consumption of overtime. Apparently, he does not appreciate that police officers, as do other employees, like to take their vacations during the summer. He also probably does not know that these two months are typically very active times for police officers. With children out of school and tempers tending to flare in the summer heat, July and August tend to be very active times for police. Woe to the sheriff who tries to run short-shifted at that time. . . . The fact is, my office has one of the most sophisticated overtime control programs in the county. We keep a running computerized database on overtime that permits us to classify our overtime consumption into 636 different categories and monitor overtime consumption continually. In January, we will put 11 brand new deputies on the street. Overtime will then drop dramatically, just as I have planned.

Mr. Meadows asks why I didn't hire transfers from other police agencies rather than train 11 new deputies? . . . The county

executive and County Council funded entry-level position for recruit deputies, not lateral transfers from other agencies. Lastly, my overtime budget was cut by $50,000. This coupled with the salary increases for deputies and correctional officers actually created an 8 percent deficit in my overtime, Social Security and shift differential categories. . . .

Robert E. Comes

Bel Air

The writer is the Harford County sheriff.

Harford's 'Hillary'

Much like Hillary Rodham Clinton (also a well-monied lawyer), nTC Mary Louise Preis' vote on the latest gun control issue last session shows the arrogance that exerts itself when one has lost touch with the people who elected her in the first place.

Like Hillary and Bill, it is she who knows what is best for us. . . . She cannot grasp that violent crime is behavioral, not technological. . . .

David L. G. Stancill

Bel Air

Growth Too Fast

As everyone seems to be in a rush these days, I wonder if you've taken the time to stop for a minute to reflect on the beauty of the trees changing color and of the pride of our own Harford County.

If you have, you would have noticed trees being cut down, our excellent school system overloaded and unbelievable traffic congestion. Next year, those trees may not be there. . . .

But someone is on our side: Theresa Pierno. She wants our schools to remain the best. She wants to protect our environment and communities. She wants managed growth. The other candidate will boast the same, her supporters will boast the same. But, if you check the records, you will see, Theresa Pierno actually does what she says. . . .

Pam Loftus

Bel Air

Amoss is Asset

As a native of Harford County, I have seen our elected officials come and go. . . . I believe that Senator Bill Amoss listens and works for the people of District 35.

Senator Amoss knows this county inside and out. He has helped it grow and prosper and he knows its problems. It seems to me that he uses good common sense, and I value that. I feel he is a great asset to our county, and I will proudly support Senator Amoss on Nov. 8.

George A. Marll

Bel Air

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