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Muskegon County Board rejects Sheriff Department’s request for more correctional officers

Jail cell
Pixabay | CC BY 3.0

Sheriff says jail is understaffed, Board says its being fiscally responsible.

After the Muskegon County Board rejected adding more correctional officers to the jail, the Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday its “frustrated and disappointed” at the Commission’s decision.

The Sheriff’s office says the Muskegon County Jail is understaffed and overworked, and having to operate the facility with 48 correctional officers—six less than the 54 correctional officers the Michigan Department of Corrections recommends it has.

Sheriff Michael Poulin says, adding fuel to his frustration, Muskegon County right now is flush with extra cash, having generated over $677,000 in tax revenue from the cannabis industry since the legalization of marijuana, and roughly $7 million on its way in settlement money following the landmark federal lawsuit against opioid manufactures.

“The dollars are in the general fund, (and) this is something that we need to have for the safety and security of staff, and for the people that they are charged to take care of,” Poulin said. “So, the County Board has an opportunity to make this right.”

According to Board Chairman Robert the board’s decision is in effort to be fiscally responsible. He says, everyone who works for Muskegon County needs a raise following the pandemic and current inflation rates—something that needs to be settled first before hiring additional correctional officers.

“That’s why I voted no,” Scolnik said. “I am not against it, I just need to need to see what the whole picture looks like before we decide what we are going to do,” he said.

Meanwhile the Board has hired an outside firm to conduct a salary survey and analysis for Muskegon County employees. Scolnik says, once that is completed, he believes that the Sheriff’s department will receive six more correctional officers.

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