Lawmakers Say No More Staff Needed At Broome Jail

By Erik Burling

July 22, 2010 Updated Dec 10, 2007 at 7:13 PM EDT

Broome County hired 3 additional corrections officers for the jail.

Far fewer than the 21 new officers the New York State Commission on Corrections says the jail needs.

Lawmakers plan to fight against any more staff.

365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week corrections officers work here at the Broome County Jail.

Sheriff David Harder says the jail is understaffed, and his officers are overworked.

He says other jails in New York are facing the same problem.

"This is not unusual. This goes on throughout the state. Hiring 21 people in Broome county all of the sudden is not a shocker," says Harder.

But Broome County leaders say it is a shock, and they plan to fight the recommendation of the Corrections Commission.

"It's an insult to the taxpayers of Broome County. That we have to, he's worked with his buddies at the Commission of Corrections, and basically they've told us to go out and higher 21 new people," says Broome Legislative Chairman Mark Whalen.

"Our county can't afford a one time hit of 1.5 million dollars adding 21 people to one department," says Broome County Budget Director Nathaalie Maxwell.

Maxwell says it would raise county property taxes by about 3%.

But Harder says the number of inmates in jail is on the rise.

And its been more than a decade since corrections officers have been added.

"It's all safety. It's safety for the officers. It's safety for the in-mates. It's not unusual for us to have fights in there," says Harder.

"It's not a safety thing. It's an efficiency thing. And from the way he runs his jail is not efficient," says Whalen.

While the sheriff and lawmakers debate, they county will try to negotiate with the state on jail staffing.

The Sheriff's Office says the county has 18 months to fill the new positions.

Again, the county agreed to hire just 3 while it talks with the commission.

The county is also having it's own study done on overtime which will should be ready by July.

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