Employees Support Sheriff Blair's Budget Request
On Thursday hundreds of Marion County Sheriff Office employees spoke up at this years first budget public hearing.
Many employees were on edge after Commissioner Stan McClain visited the jail last week with representatives from a private company called Corrections Corporations of America.
During Thursday's meeting Commissioner McClain did speak on the record about his thoughts on getting a private company to take over the jail.
His statement seemed to leave many employees at ease about the jail issue.
Emotions were running high Thursday night as employee after employee stood in front of the board of county commissioners.
Many of them expressing their concerns about having a private company or the county taking over the jail.
"Three hundred plus jail employees now are fearful for their jobs," said a MCSO employee.
Commissioner McClain set the record straight during the meeting.
"I have determined that option is not relevant to the adoption of this current budget that we are in," said Commissioner McClain.
Chair Kathy Bryant also made it clear that the board has not discussed the chance of their taking over the jail.
Once that issue was decided on, another issue remained. Sheriff Chris Blair's $8.2 million supplemental budget request to the board.
Dozens of employees showed their support of Sheriff Blair's request.
"Jail staffing is at a all time low. Sometimes leaving two officers to cover hundreds of inmates. Some in which are very violent," said MCSO employee.
"I want you to know when the radios go dead five times in one shift and we have to keep getting radios, we are putting are self at risk because we might not be able to call for help," said a MCSO employee.
If given these funds Sheriff Blair will hire more deputies and corrections officers , upgrade equipment and buy new patrol cars for his deputies.
"As you are well aware we are working short handed to the point that it has become dangerous," said MCSO employee.
"We are not your enemy and you are not ours. our enemy is the criminal on the street and if you put us out on the street with out the equipment we need, without the back up that we need we can't get the job done," said a MCSO employee.
While law enforcement officers expressed their thoughts so did this Marion County citizen stood up and said he doesn't want the board to approve the money.
"I am going to encourage my commissioners to stand strong and represent me to be no raise in that budget. None what so ever," said a Marion County citizen.
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