MONTESANO, Wash. - Six staff members, that's how Grays Harbor County Sheriff Mike Wheelan says his department plans to reach the requested budget cuts of %7 going into 2012. Wheelan said his hands were tied "%81 of what we do is wages and benefits, the rest of it is mostly automobiles, mileage, so when you talk about serious cuts, you talk about jobs."
A budget submitted last week highlights a retirement in the Criminal Division, and not filling two Corrections Officer positions will remove three officers, both full-time cooks in the prison will be laid off, and Chief Civil Deputy Lynn O'Conner has announced her retirement. Wheelan said his department has lost a total of 14 employees since 1998.
One program that did survive the cut is the Resident Deputy Program. Wheelan said the program itself would only save about 33 thousand dollars, 1/10th of the amount requested by the County Commissioners.
Wheelan concluded by saying that the budget is now in the hands of the Grays Harbor County Commissioners.