MODESTO — The Sheriff's Department Stanislaus County's poster child for agonizing layoffs a couple of years ago continues its modest rebound with a request today for a dozen more workers.
Half would be sworn officers dedicated to fighting gangs and narcotics, and two would be clerks. The other four would be jailers.
County supervisors will consider the department's request in a discussion on a $984 million final budget, up more than 10 percent from last year, thanks largely to costly road projects.
Sheriff Adam Christianson will pay for the new unit with savings, he said. "It's pretty exciting to be able to start slowly rebuilding after what was lost in 3½ years of economic chaos."
Christianson recently added other positions with state money from corrections realignment, accompanying a shift from state prisons and parole to county jails and probation. The county expects to receive $13.3 million this year for deputies, probation officers, and related mental health and recovery jobs.
When leaders approved a preliminary spending plan in June, they intended to resurrect one six-person Sheriff's Team Investigating Narcotics and Gangs squad and add a second unit next year. Each would have one sergeant and five deputies and would share a detective. Officials changed their minds since and want to create both squads at once.
Christianson lost 18 percent of his budget and more than a quarter of his employees to recession cuts, with staff dipping from a high of 676 four years ago to 503 last year. Realignment has allowed some hiring, bringing the number to 579 if approved this morning by supervisors.
The county's total work force could rise to 3,799 jobs 63 more than approved in June, but 804 less than the all-time high of 4,603 five years ago.
Administrators continue to balance the budget with reserves and savings $53 million worth this year. They recommend that supervisors adopt a policy requiring a higher priority for setting aside money rather than bringing back programs that were discarded during budget cuts.
The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors will hold a budget hearing at 9 a.m. today in the basement chamber at Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St., Modesto
On the Net: www.stancounty.com/budget.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2390.