A lawsuit brought against the Winnebago County Board by Sheriff Gary Caruana could be a step closer to being resolved.
Sheriff Caruana and board members have come to a tentative agreement but more work needs to be done.
The Sheriff says he felt forced to file a lawsuit against the board and Chairman Frank Haney. The complaint stems from 2017 when $4 million of the Sheriff’s budget was cut. Caruana claimed it affected his ability to do his job.
In Thursday’s settlement, the county board’s finance chairman Jaime Salgado says the Sheriff will receive $1.7 million to avoid firing deputies.
The county board says while public safety is their top priority, the 1.7 million was not budgeted for but will have to be dealt with.
Despite the financial setback, county board members say the settlement offers everyone involved a path to closure.
“That’s what was important for us too, that there was no animosity between the Sheriff and the county board, that we can all work with this,” said Winnebago County board member Aaron Booker. “The Sheriff understands our budget constraints and we understand the Sheriff’s needs.”
“We’ll have to look at the different areas to see where the [budget] cuts would be,” said Winnebago County board member Jaime Salgado. “Like I said, next week we’ll have projections of what the next fiscal cycle will look like and whether we go which direction with capital improvement plan, keep the levy flat, whatever the case may be.”
All the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. The settlement will go to the full county board for a vote in two weeks.