Supervisor Tavaglione tells Sheriff Sniff to stop fighting Riverside County’s cost-cutting efforts
Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff is getting close to $18 million in extra funding after warning that his department needed as much as $50 million more to avoid deep cuts that could compromise public safety in unincorporated areas.
The money allocated by the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 25, came after a tense exchange between Sniff and Supervisor John Tavaglione, who accused Sniff of resisting an ongoing efficiency effort and publicly badmouthing supervisors.
At issue is how much Sniff’s department is getting in the county’s $5.5 billion budget. Currently, county supervisors are struggling with how to put the county’s finances on a sustainable path that doesn’t draw down savings.
Revenues are growing, but still haven’t matched what they were before the Great Recession of 2007-08. At the same time, the county faces with a mounting list of new, ongoing and inflexible expenses, from a lawsuit settlement requiring more spending on jail inmates’ health care to the potential of having to pay tens of millions more for in-home care for indigent adults.
Spending on public safety consumes roughly three out of every four discretionary dollars. County officials have said that non-public safety departments have been cut to the bone, and more must be done to control public safety costs. To that end, supervisors hired consulting firm KPMG to make county government more efficient and data-driven.
Much of KPMG’s work focuses on the Sheriff’s Department, and the firm has said Sniff can save money by shifting deputies’ schedules and using non-sworn personnel and a telephone system to handle minor, non-emergency calls. An experiment to test some of KPMG’s ideas is underway at the sheriff’s patrol station in Hemet. The Lake Elsinore station will soon be included.
As an elected official, Sniff can’t be fired. While KPMG has praised the sheriff and his staff for their […]