• Rich Klein

EDITORIAL: Is Mike Schiff Costing Taxpayers Too Much $$?

It has cost the County tens of thousands of dollars EACH MONTH to keep two jails open simultaneously while Sheriff Mike Schiff can't figure out how to move staff and inmates into the new facility, which was completed and celebrated in the middle of October 2019 - some five months before coronavirus.

Even this week, he wrote in a news release about having to train his officers before the move. Yet, residents need to ask: What in heck was he doing in late 2019 and early 2020?

For one thing, he was busy trying to launch a takeover of the 911 Control Center, without many people finding out about it. That didn't go over well and then he had to spend time defending his position in front of a few hundred people who disagreed with him. Including the Commander of Troop F. Before that, he was busy with pancake breakfasts and getting Republicans elected. That he does very well but that is not what he is PAID to do by the County. Before anyone accuses me of a "hit job" let's remember that Schiff calmly got up at a Town Hall this past week and told the world that 17 of 20 inmates tested for coronavirus on G block came back positive. There will likely, sadly, be more. Four correction officers have also tested positive, with two recovered and two still in quarantine. Then, he said, NOW he'll be sure jail employees get tested. What he didn't mention is that his delay in moving to the new facility may have contributed to more infections - since the new facility is spacious and state of the art. ( I pray that none of the correction officers, staff and inmates become gravely ill). So you have a $101 million jail - and now what could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in excessive costs to taxpayers because Schiff has to run two facilities simultaneously. And, all while Treasurer Nancy Buck told us this past week the County is in a dire financial situation and that it's going to get worse without a federal rescue package. She said that AFTER 78 County employees were laid off. There's also excessive overtime being billed to the County by his office that some legislators are not happy about. But that's a story and editorial for another day. But here's the real question: How much has Mike Schiff cost the County taxpayers in recent years due to mismanagement? Might some of the 78 people who were laid off been able to keep their jobs if Schiff moved into the new facility in January? It may just be something to keep in mind when he's up for re-election.

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