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OUR VIEW: Solution needed now for jail OT

It's time for the Davison County Commission to be vocal on a persistent problem draining taxpayer dollars. The county's jail overtime budget is out of control, yet again, and commissioners are seemingly shrugging their shoulders and not taking la...

The Davison County Public Safety Center serves as the home for county lockup. (Matt Gade/Republic)
The Davison County Public Safety Center serves as the home for county lockup. (Matt Gade/Republic)

It's time for the Davison County Commission to be vocal on a persistent problem draining taxpayer dollars.

The county's jail overtime budget is out of control , yet again, and commissioners are seemingly shrugging their shoulders and not taking large enough steps to harness the mismanagement.

According a quarterly report during Tuesday's regular Davison County Commission meeting, Corrections Administrator Don Radel said the jail overtime expenses are on pace to reach about $91,000. Overtime from January through March hit $22,759.45.

The budgeted amount for the entire year? $35,000.

In December 2015, an annual report showed the jail exceeded its overtime expenses by 581 percent.

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"They need to be aware of it and they need to answer for it," Commissioner Brenda Bode said at the 2015 meeting.

Where are these answers?

In 2015, a $236,960 budget supplement was needed to fund the Davison County Jail's operations. Last year, the supplement was $305,783.

Now, three months into this year, the jail spent 65 percent of its overtime budget.

Something's very wrong here.

Perhaps the jail is underfunded, as Radel has suggested. Or perhaps the jail needs more employees.

Maybe it's as simple as the staff's scheduling is poorly managed.

We don't know the specifics, but we know what the bottom line says. It's clear there's a major problem with how taxpayer funds are being distributed so willfully beyond the allotted amount, and no one is being held accountable for it.

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Despite the Davison County Commission increasing the jail's overtime budget line by $20,000 from 2016 to this year, we're still not seeing an improvement. In fact, the problem is getting worse.

It's time our county commissioners demand better results. It's time a solution is sought.

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