Here's a clue why Santa Fe County Undersheriff Robert Garcia, Sheriff Greg Solano's chosen successor, failed to win some big union endorsements leading up to the June 1 primary elections: He wants deputies to work five days a week.
Garcia is pictured at left. He had promised "continuity" with Solano's policies, narrowly won the election over Charlie Dalton, who was backed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the Santa Fe Police Officers Association and AFSCME.
The details of the work schedule changes are explained in a news release by Solano, pasted below:
** NEWS RELEASE **
June 8, 2010
Sheriff Solano orders reorganization of Sheriff’s office, increases number of deputies on the streets by up to 110%
Sheriff Greg Solano has ordered a reorganization of the Sheriff’s Office in order to better serve the public and increase response times. The biggest component of the plan is a return to 5 day 8 hour shifts for all divisions in the office. On Monday June 7, 2010 Sheriff Solano met with the heads of the CWA Union who represents all certified law enforcement officers as well as his senior staff to outline the plan.
While many officers may oppose the plan based on the loss on the 10 hour 4 day work schedule the Sheriff says the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Sheriff Solano states “the public demands increased services while the economy has put increased pressure on our budget. We need to be creative and provide the increased services while utilizing the decreased dollars we have been given.” The Sheriff’s office budget cuts proposed and already implemented are nearing $300,000 and further cuts may still occur.
The crux of the plan is to increase the number of uniform deputies patrolling the streets. Currently the average number of deputies on patrol is 5-6 deputies per shift. The new plan will have an average of 10 deputies on Day shift for an increase of 100%, 11 deputies on swing shift for an increase of 110% and an average of 9 deputies on Graveyard which will put 90% more deputies on the streets for graveyard. The increase in deputies on the streets will allow more preventative patrols and quicker response times for the public. These percentages will increase even more as 2 deputies in the academy, 2 just hired and 6 vacancies are filled and those deputies are added to the above numbers.
Budget cuts which have already been implemented over the last year total nearly $200,000 and additional proposed cuts are estimated at 79,000 to the base budget and hundreds of thousands to the capital budget which is used to purchase vehicles and other large cost non reoccurring expenses. The Sheriff has proposed cuts averaging $6,000 for each of his staff earning over $80,000 which directly affected 3 of his staff including the Undersheriff. All of these cuts to the nine million dollar overall budget are being done while still increasing the number of deputies on the streets. Sheriff Solano said “I am very proud of my staff, in particular Undersheriff Robert Garcia, Captain Robert Riggs and our accountant Evelyn Vigil who have worked hard on this plan to cut the budget and increase services at the same time. We have proven that what was believed to be impossible is possible with creative ideas and a willingness to sacrifice.”