Sheriff Makes Case For Restoration Of Budget Cuts

Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco asked county legislators to restore the positions eliminated in the proposed 2013 budget.


Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco began his budget presentation to the county legislature as the rows behind him filled up with sheriff’s chiefs and deputies, town and village police chiefs, law enforcement officers and former Sheriff James Kralik. He asked legislators to consider more than just mandated services but also to look at maintaining essential services that contribute to public safety and quality of life in the county. 

Legislative Budget & Finance Committee Chair Ilan Schoenberger began the budget review on Monday by stating that the proposed 2013 budget cut staffing in the Sheriff’s Department staffing by eight patrol officers, one patrol sergeant, nine cooks and one food service helper. The proposal put forward by County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef estimated savings of $1,167,121.

Falco noted if the positions were abolished, the savings would be less because employees with more seniority can bump people with less time on the job.

“That number is going to be lower than what’s on this paper,” said Falco. 

The sheriff said he met with the county executive’s staff in July to go over the budget and he thought everything was set until he was told in late September that $3.5 million needed to be cut.  The cuts identified by the county executive include the Sheriff’s Mounted Unit and the food service staff that supplies meals for county jail inmates.  Vanderhoef recommended hiring an outside firm to prepare the meals. 

The mounted unit is not ceremonial, Falco insisted.  He said it is rotated every weekend from April through November between the villages of Nyack, Spring Valley and Haverstraw and is assigned to parades and football games.  He said maintenance of the mounted unit breaks down to $8.50 per Rockland household a year   

Falco said the food service provides about 1,000 meals daily.  The jail can house 305 prisoners and averages 243 inmates who receive three meals each day. The food service costs $418,000 for 10 positions and $400,000 for food.  His staff is working on an internal analysis of food service costs and Falco asked for a chance to finish that report in January before any action is taken. 

“We have to restore what they took out of the jail which is the kitchen,” said Falco. “We have to feed those inmates.” 

He said the food service workers are in the CSEA, which has a new contract with the county while the patrol officers’ union has not reached a new agreement with the county.

Schoenberger said since food would still have to be bought and prepared to feed the prisoners, the service would be not be eliminated but replaced by an outside firm and that in his mind violated the CSEA contract.

Several legislators voiced support of Falco’s request to restore the funds. District Attorney Thomas Zugibe and Piermont Police Chief Michael O’Shea, who is also the president of the county police chiefs association, also spoke in favor of Falco’s request for reinstatement of the funds.

Falco spoke at length about the millions the sheriff’s department brought to the county through asset forfeiture and how that money has offset costs for equipment replacement and repairs that the county would have typically covered.

The legislature holds a public hearing on the proposed 2013 budget tonight at 7 p.m.

Here is what's been discussed so far during this budget process:

  • Proposed County Budget—Public Safety Concerns (Highway Department)
  • Proposed County Highway Layoffs May Reduce Service
  • Legislature Debates Cuts In General Services
James Bond November 20, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Taxes high enough already and so is the Chiefs salaries in Rockland. Leave the cuts and cut the chiefs salaries too.
Pat Godfrey November 20, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Unbelievable. These guys are so greedy they never stop wanting more. Our taxes just go up every year to pay for their existing salaries and now Falco wants to add more salaries. I guess he is ok with another tax increase to. Forget the Rockland families struggling to make there own bills, the elderly on a fixed incomes who cannot afford the tax increases. What is important here is that he get more people on staff and pay raises every year.
steve November 20, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I agree with Pat, this unreal - Of course the Police will stand up for the Sheriff, because they have to know the same will happen to them, and we do not have to speak about the politicians.Instead of always asking for more Taxes, make the system smarter and do with less. That is what an average hosehold has to do. We DO NOT have the money. They will only understand when Rockland goes broke and they lose their pensions.
Watchdog November 20, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Pensions and medical benefits are responsible for all public employees eating their young. Until there is something done with these unaffordable pensions we will see this story written again, year after year. Law enforcement in Rockland is largely responsible for its demise. These $250,000 chiefs are a selfish bunch of ingrates. Taxing seniors to pay their ludicrous pensions.Shameful. Jiw can they look themselves in the mirror? Get rid of the horses.
frankie g November 20, 2012 at 01:16 PM
End another duplication of service. Eight sheriff patrol officers are not enough,disband the entire dept. Asset forfeitures can be accomplished with the municipal,intel and drug task force cops. No reason to pay twice for another chain of command. Seems their patrol officers can't even hold onto their own guns and we have to pay 6 figures for this performance. Knowing how this dysfunctional legislature has ignored the taxpayers , led by Cornell and Shoenberger ,we will end up paying more for this to continue until the middle class is extinct or has moved out
Odd Job November 20, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Excellent points Pat, I agree with everything you have noted.
Michael N. Hull November 20, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Nobody wants their oxes gored and certainly not their police horses! At least they are not camels - they are really expensive beasts of public burden to feed and care for. Face up to it folks these decisions have already been made just like they were in Clarkstown. http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/the-town-that-cried On Tuesday, December 04, 2012 your County Tax is going up 18.4% to be followed by some self serving political speeches and lots of mud-slinging. Keep your heads down - the speeches and mud-slinging have already started in Orangetown. http://newcity.patch.com/articles/orangetown-budget-sparks-political-divide Let's call a spade a spade. This is 'show' business. It has nothing to do with fiscal sanity or financial prudence. And it is better than a Broadway farce even if the price to watch it is just as expensive. If Rockland was part of the Sahara Desert, and this lot was in charge of the camel management department, within a couple of years there would be a shortage of sand.
Kevin Roy November 20, 2012 at 01:55 PM
What will be interesting is to see what budget cuts are approved by the Legislature and which ones will be added back in. As noted in the RBA whitepaper, the County Legislature is the ultimate arbiter of the budget.
John Roache November 20, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Just make one county police force and get it over with. Duplication of services is all the Sheriff's Dept. is good for. He should be more concerned with his deputies not having their guns taken off of them in the middle of the night in road rage incidents.
Watchdog November 20, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Soon we will be living in homes like this http://www.techcinema.com/2012/10/homebox-portable-house-in-vertical.html While law enforcement lives in places like this http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Taj_Mahal_2012.jpg
so even at a meeting....everyone shows up to act as"one" people the answer is beyond simple!!!!+ONE" UNO" SINGLE" 1" police force!!!!!NYC with millions of people and a lot more crime has one force....why do we the Taxpayers have to pay over the top taxes to support way too many town police forces??????talk about Injustice...in the end WHAT Will Happen as the TAXES keep rising for this insane Duplication..for a county with more park land than most countys is a silent erosion of population....the middle class people will all leave....what will take place wil be 2 families moving into many houses adding high amounts of strain to the schools...and HOUSING PRICES WILL BE LOWER as buyers add up the total costs of living in a house...TAXES make a big dent in affordibility..ONE police force...One Highway Department....ONE School system....lets stop with all this entitlement...learn to run a county like a corporation does....with out a deficit..PERPETUAL BORROWING IS A TRAVESTY TO EVERY SINGLE TAXPAYER
CANT they borrow some burrows from the local towns?
i was thinking along the lines of re-embursement if say one police department requests back-up from others...do the PD's sending back-up get paid for the number of cops sent and time? has anyone ever looked into this aspect? if one town is using other municipalites resourses shouldnt that be paid back on a per hour basis??if haverstraw needed other towns send them a bill for services...as per any town needing the same in return..other wise one pd for the county
Arthur Winoker November 20, 2012 at 04:04 PM
As the past has proven, the county legislature is unable or unwilling to make the necessary cuts so what we need is a state fiscal control board to make the same and monitor the finances until the county becomes solvent again. The other alternative is bankruptcy by the County,
GWashington November 20, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Two years ago there was a referendum on the ballot to eliminate the sheriff's department. It failed. Because no one voted for it and all the employees and their family members came out and voted NO. Until the people wake up around here, there will be more of the same until bankruptcy is the only option. I support bankruptcy now; start cleaning the fiscal fiasco now, with a clean slate.
Think4urself November 21, 2012 at 12:22 AM
If the Sheriff's Department truly doesn't want cuts, everyone there should take less pay to get the services back. This issue is about law enforcement greed, not safety. The taxpayer has been bled dry and is closed for business.
B John November 21, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Learn from Hostess, sometimes the Union gets so greedy that they eventually lose! We need one corrections dept and one police dept. Restructure the pay to an average from a across all towns. Also set up a benefit plan where they pay into it like the private sector. And for God's sake get rid of the mounted horse division. It's 2012 people and the US economy is in shambles. Private companies are laying off by the thousands to meet the new Obama taxes and health reform. Rockland cops and chiefs cut your bitching and entitlement posture. The gravy train ride needs to end. Your lucky to have a secure job so pay your fair share!
Watchdog November 21, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Exactly,B John. Some of the folks. Why why pick on law enforcement,they are not solely responsible? True,however,they are the most egregious. The biggest problem in the PublicSector is they failed to adjust their pensions and benefits like the private sector did years ago when they could no longer afford it. Then low enforcement piled on the taxpayer with huge amount of time off, no contribution for medical, clothing allowance etc. And salary increases during a deep recession when the private sector had to make further adjustments. All with the blessings of politicians who aided and abetted.
Son of Liberty November 21, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Compare the salaries of the Sheriffs Dept with the salaries of other police agencies in Rockland. You are all barking up the wrong tree. There are hard working officers making a fraction of the money that you think they make. They have families and mortgages just like you, pay taxes just like you, and have to put on bullet proof garments when they come work It's a dangerous job and these guys are there to help YOU. You should be grateful instead of hateful. A financial crunch brought on by the county executive in collusion with the legislature and you vent your anger at the only people who will help you without question when things go bad? That's shameful. And as far as ONE incident involving ONE off duty officer losing his weapon, it will be dealt with. Don't blame an entire force because one guy messed up. These guys run towards danger while you run from it. And if things get worse, which they probably will, you and your families will want as much protection as you can get. Blame the folks who got us into this mess, not the people who put their lives on the line for the good of the public.
Actually you are totally correct...The people in the Sheriffs department are very nice...friendly...not arrogent at all...very very good people..when I have asked the new guys running for the new supervior position that vanderhoff has ..why dont we have one police force..one school system...one highway department for this county MUM is the word...most likey because they dont want to lose the union votes ..neither person even makes a comment...so typical of self interests...BUT Mr Falco could be the head of all of Rockland County PD..I see that as a good thing..other wise when rockland falls off the fiscal cliff...we dont want the river towns to get more waves....Fiscal Accountability is a county and every single town issue......to blame it on just the county is in itself an Injustice..look at clarkstown..part timers to answer phones? a guy making over 163,000 with a raise this year to supervise main street??while many workers in rockland shake their heads in disbelief..Make the sheriff department the one police force for rockland..
B John November 22, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Let me clarify. I have no issue and am not calling out the sherrifs dept because someone lost a weapon. It's not my concern. I am not saying they are not nice people. What I am saying is that in this county the danger factor to cops is minimal. The last major event was the Brinks robbery over 30 years ago. sure there are crimes and murders but the pd get involved after the event. There needs to be one dept. The RCPD - Rockland County Police Department. Review all salaries across the towns and come up with an average. Some officers will get a bump in pay, others a decrease, and some will stay the same. Next we need one Police Chief. Have all the existing ones interview with our town executives for the job. The ones that don't get the job will be offered positions as lieutenants or sergeants at the appropriate pay rate. They won't like it but I did not like it 2 years ago when my company said no raises or this year when they said layoffs.....that's life fellas. Next we merge some towns to RCPD precincts. For example, the Sheriffs Dept merges into the Clarkstown PD building, Haverstraw into Stony Point....etc. All existing police cars stay named as is and new purchases are designed as RCPD. sell the existing police stations /property that are no longer needed. make them into community centers. Lastly, free medical ends boys. Welcome to a PPO or Choice plan like the private sector. Tax payer's are getting slammed and can no longer give you a free ride.
B John..very well written with perception and foresight and reality...lets seeif even one of the two candidates running for vanderhoffers position even voices any thoughts about your response..my bet is nada...they wont dare risk losing their buddies in the unions..a real candidate would stand up and say I agree lets cut costs across every single town thru-out rockland...
frankie g November 22, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Who sponsored the referendum to eliminate the Sheriffs Dept ? and Why can't we submit it again. After all, if a school budget vote fails,they can get a do over until such time they get the desired result ,then why not do it again on this issue . We know for sure there is no hope with any career politician sitting there now to consolidate


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