“LA County is required under state law to produce a balanced budget. When a County Department is struggling with their budget, it is that Department’s responsibility to communicate and work hand-in-hand with the CEO and the Board of Supervisors so that we can work together to address the issues before the end of the fiscal year. After all, no County Department works independently, and all of our departments are budgetarily interconnected. A deficit in one County Department impacts services offered by others.
What is most concerning to me is that the Sheriff’s Department reported a manageable deficit all throughout this year, until the Department’s budget came up in May. Despite repeated requests from the County CEO for the Sheriff’s Department to submit a budget deficit mitigation plan, none was ever provided. Instead, this problem lingered and the deficit grew by the time the books were closed at the end of the fiscal year. When it comes to fiscal responsibility of taxpayers’ dollars, regardless of whether the Department Head was appointed by the Board of Supervisors or elected by County voters, there is a need for accountability.
While the Sheriff’s Department has run a deficit in the last three years, no deficit has ever gotten close to what we are seeing now. This budget deficit is the largest departmental budget deficit I have seen since I was sworn in as Supervisor. I have a constitutional responsibility to be thoughtful and prudent with taxpayer funds while ensuring that LA County health and public safety services continue to be delivered.
The motion that I am bringing next week is intended to assist the Sheriff’s Department to come within their budget this fiscal year and into the future. Further, this action makes it clear that there is to be no changes in funding for sworn staff. There will be no impact to the Sheriff Department’s recruitment of new sworn staff or any reduction in sworn officers for patrol.”