Winnebago County stood defiant Monday against the Winnebago County Board.
He said he’s being asked to cut too many jobs. During a press conference Monday, he said he will not do that.
“At this present time, I will not make any cuts to my personnel until I further investigate every option I have to me,” said Caruana.
The county board passed a budget last Thursday. It calls for $4.3 million in cuts to the Sheriff’s department. Caruana says that translates up to 100 layoffs and he’s confused as to why just two months ago, the county signed off on him hiring more deputies. “They signed papers, HR and finance, to allow me to hire deputies of existing vacancies from December. Why would they do that? If they knew these cuts were on tap?”
17th Circuit Court Chief Judge Joseph McGraw stood beside the Sheriff, also expressing his concerns. “To simply superimpose across the board cuts on public safety alone, effectively, without any dialogue about the impacts is not a principle way to make decisions.”
Chief Judge McGraw says the county already fails to fund necessary court services, that by law, must be provided. It’s the reason he filed a lawsuit against the county back in August. McGraw says he wants to look into the budget amendment process in the hopes of reducing the cuts. But, Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney, says that would be a waste of time.
“No, I do not see a complete reverse course by the county board,” said Haney. “They just went through a methodical several month long budget process.”
Haney says the county has to work with the budget they currently have and not the budget they wish they had. “Number one: live within our means. Number two: to continue to make public safety a priority and we have done that and we will continue to do that. We’ve done that as a community and we will continue to do that. The third thing is we have to be more innovative.”
There is currently no timeline on if, or when Sheriff Caruana will make cuts to his department.