Hinds Officials Challenge Personnel Cuts | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Hinds Officials Challenge Personnel Cuts

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A round of budget cuts and layoffs last week prompted outcry from two Hinds County officials at this morning's meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Tax Collector Eddie Fair told board members that their Sept. 15 decision to slash 48 filled positions from the county's payroll would affect more than just those employees.

"We're not just talking about 48 people," Fair said. "We're talking about 48 families."

Fair also protested the board's decision to cut five positions from his staff, noting that the county's recent tax sale had brought in $11 million, over $4 million of which would go to the county's general fund. District 4 Supervisor Phil Fisher pointed out that the county had already included that revenue in its 2010 budget, though.

"Our office has made a difference," Fair insisted.

As alternatives to layoffs, Fair suggested that the county not pay employees for the day after scheduled holidays or require employees to work a half-day once a month.

Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin also took issue with his department's cuts, which include 18 unfilled positions for an expansion of the county's regional jail and 10 other filled positions.

"The public is not really happy with the cuts in public safety," McMillin said of the 28 cuts his department is facing. "I can't have a bake sale to raise money for the Sheriff's Department."

District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham, who has worked for the Jackson Police Department, expressed his personal support for reconsidering the Sheriff's Department's cuts, but he made no formal motion to do so.

Board President George Smith asked department heads for their cooperation during the difficult budgeting process.

"We're in a tough position, one I have not faced since I've been here," Smith said.

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