Editorials

With $300K in OT, are those deputies getting tired?

St. Clair County Sheriffs deputies in 2013 work a hostage crisis. Last year patrol deputies earned $296,845 in overtime pay. Would it be better to hire a few more deputies?
St. Clair County Sheriffs deputies in 2013 work a hostage crisis. Last year patrol deputies earned $296,845 in overtime pay. Would it be better to hire a few more deputies? dholtmann@bnd.com

Every year the News-Democrat compiles lists to show what public employees are being paid.

People use the lists to be nosy and see what their neighbor or their kid’s teacher makes. They also use the lists to keep a watch on local government and see whose brother-in-law is getting a government job.

The lists from 2016 are starting to be compiled, and this item emerged from the St. Clair County payroll: Patrol deputies received $296,845 in overtime last year. That is enough money to provide salary and benefits for three more deputies and a part-timer.

Sheriff’s Maj. Tom Knapp was asked about hiring new deputies rather than running a greater risk of wearing out the current deputies with overtime. He said that decision rests with the Fifth Floor.

If you don’t know, the Fifth Floor of the St. Clair County Building is where County Chairman Mark Kern resides.

Remember the penny sales tax that was supposed to help fund sheriff’s patrols? Voters pretty handily defeated it, with the county’s decision to spend $81 million to subsidize MidAmerica St. Louis Airport rather than attend to the public-safety mission likely weighing heavily in that rejection.

And whose appointees decide the airport’s budget?

If you want to know why you rarely see a deputy on the road in St. Clair County, well, that’s because all roads lead to the Fifth Floor.

But we do have a big, beautiful parking lot and $43 flights to Orlando.

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