Sims Reacts to Rahr's Budget Shots

Well, kind of. Ron Sims hasn't come out and actually taken a shot at Sheriff Sue Rahr himself as she rallies support in her quest to try and maintain her current budget while making sure everyone knows the Exec. negotiated the contract she says has protected toxic deputies in the department. But his office was quick to jump on her press conference yesterday.

After she held a press conference yesterday in which she said:

With no rationale or credible business explanation, Executive Sims asked the Sheriff's Office and the other criminal justice agencies, including the prosecutor’s office and the courts, to cut their budgets by 8.6%. Yet other internal County departments were not directed to take a corresponding level of cuts.

Sims spokeswoman Carolyn Duncan called today to point out that everyone getting money from the general fund is taking a hit. And other county departments are being asked to tighten their belts as well.

The Sheriff's office was ready for the response this morning. Spokesman John Urquhart sent an e-mail to us media types who have been budget watching the last few days saying: "Notice she did not say they were not directed to take any cuts. She said just not the same cuts." He goes on to reference a March 31 letter from Budget Director Bob Cowan asking all internal service departments, the guts of maintaining the day-to-day county operations, to "submit proposals for reducing per unit service costs 3 1/2 - 5 percent for 2009."

As part of her proposed cuts, Rahr also said yesterday that she would cut what she pays into overhead, including some of those internal services by the 8.6 percent she's been asked to slash her budget. I noted yesterday it was a little like telling your landlord you will be paying less in rent.

Duncan noted that some of what the Sheriff pays is going for things essential to running her department, like payroll. By centralizing that kind of thing, Duncan says, everyone saves money. It would be far more expensive for each county agency to have their own people hired to do such things.

All of it is making me think there might a good drinking game or office pool in the great Sims/Rahr Budget Bout of 2008.

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