Uniform costs questioned by commissioners

PARKERSBURG – Wood County commissioners questioned an expenditure from the sheriff’s department for uniforms.

But representatives of the department said the purchases are done each year to replace uniforms that are not the correct size or need replaced and funds are available in the department’s uniform line item.

“We are not asking for any additional funds, we have the money available. The uniforms show wear and tear and they need replaced periodically. We don’t keep a running stock, we just replace them as needed. We have some used uniforms that are turned back in after someone retires, but sometimes they aren’t the right sizes for the ones needed,” said Chief Deputy Shawn Graham.

“You asked for 40 shirts, we didn’t know if you were stockpiling. We thought you were buying these to put on the shelf,” Commissioner Steve Gainer said.

“We don’t see the requisitions anymore, a purchase order is just requested, so when there were a lot of requests and lots of dollars and we are nearing the end of the year and we want to keep a control over the budget, we question it. Last year we came up short with our ending balance and we’d like to keep that from happening again,” Commissioner Blair Couch said. “Sometimes the county officials zero out their line items at the end of the year and we have to watch the last couple of months.”

The county’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30.

The requisitions show several pairs of boots, trousers, short- and long-sleeved shirts and belts. Total cost comes out to nearly $3,000.

The commissioners also said they had planned to remove the salary allocated to the sheriff’s department for administrative assistant T.R. Smith after being informed Smith planned to retire this year. Couch said there is about $40,000 plus benefits allotted.

“Tom is taking retirement, but he doesn’t know when he will be doing that and we plan to fill his position when he leaves. We are so tightly staffed we can’t take a deputy off their other regular duties to cover everything Tom does. I can send up a list of all his duties. He handles the budget, fleet and grant management, coordinates training, is in charge of uniforms, court bailiffs and a number of other duties,” Graham said. “Everyone is very busy and we fully intend to fill the position when he leaves.”

“We need all the deputies out there,” Smith said.

“We are concerned with health care costs going up, and looking at ways to cut costs and raise revenues without raising the levy rates,” Couch said. “We are trying to find ways to save.”