Request withdrawn at crowded Zoom meeting: Hiring freeze meant filling vacant sheriff’s deputy jobs needed county council OK

A request from Monroe County’s sheriff, Brad Swain, to fill two vacant deputy positions was not heard as scheduled at the county council’s special meeting convened on Thursday at 1 p.m.

Swain withdrew the request at the start of the meeting.

The only vote taken by county councilors was on a motion made by councilor Cheryl Munson—to use their upcoming Tuesday, June 9, regular meeting as a chance to set the time and place for a separate town hall event. It passed unanimously.

The topic of the town hall, council president Eric Spoonmore told The Square Beacon Thursday evening, would be a discussion of the factors that need to be weighed, for a major structural change, as the council considers “how to resource law enforcement.”

It’s not meant to be a one-off meeting, Spoonmore said, and wants it to be guided by a criminal justice reform study the county has had in the works for more than a year.

Some activists have called for defunding law enforcement. Spoonmore told The Square Beacon that it’s important to understand what the implications would be of not filling the vacant deputy positions. Continue reading “Request withdrawn at crowded Zoom meeting: Hiring freeze meant filling vacant sheriff’s deputy jobs needed county council OK”

Monroe County’s council revisits spending decisions, OKs hires despite freeze, gets news of extra income tax revenue

The Monroe County council’s nearly four-hour meeting on Tuesday was capped off with a presentation from councilor Geoff McKim, who relayed some good financial news.

Cropped county council meeting Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 9.13.24 PM
Screen grab of the May 12, 2020 meeting of Monroe County’s council, conducted on the Zoom videoconferencing platform.

Monroe County will receive about $1.4 million in supplemental local income tax (LIT) revenue for its general fund this year. That will be added to the roughly $13.3 million of LIT revenue in this year’s general fund budget.

McKim made a recommendation for use of the $1.4 million, based on the uncertain impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on future county revenues. The county should put the extra LIT revenue in the county’s rainy day fund, McKim said.

No vote was taken on the question. It’ll likely come up at the council’s work session on May 26.

McKim’s recommendation was consistent with the cautious approach the county council took on Tuesday to some spending decisions it had put off from its mid-April meeting.

Some of the decisions, like spending money on refurbishment of the Alexander Memorial, were put off again, while others, like the overhaul of telecom infrastructure in the Nat U. Hill meeting room, got approved.

Also winning approval were some requests from department heads to fill a few positions, despite the hiring freeze that the council imposed at the end of April. Continue reading “Monroe County’s council revisits spending decisions, OKs hires despite freeze, gets news of extra income tax revenue”