Sheriff fires back against claims of county jail mismanagement

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by Brian New / KENS 5

kens5.com

Posted on August 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 21 at 7:12 PM

SAN ANTONIO --  Between inmates mistakenly being released and deputies working dangerously long hours, the Bexar County Sheriff has come under attack for mismanaging the jail.

Monday, Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz fired back at his critics calling for a third party staffing consultant to come in and “once and for all determine who’s right.”

"Instead of trying to assist us, the country is trying to make it tougher and tougher for us to manage the jail in a responsible way," said Ortiz.

The sheriff said he 81 detention officers short of being fully staffed. 

As a result of the lack of staff, he said some of his officers have been forced to work overtime, some inmates have been sent to other counties to be housed, and mistakes are being made.

On more than one occasion inmates at the Bexar County Jail have mistakenly been released.  The sheriff said it’s a direct result of being understaffed and overworked.

Ortiz said at a news conference Monday he believes the county is trying to save money by not allowing him to hire the positions he needs to run the jail.

 “The county is trying to balance this year's budget on the back of the sheriff's office," he said.

Commissioner Kevin Wolff said the sheriff has it wrong.

“Unfortunately, it’s the reverse,” said Wolff.  “The sheriff is trying to get the county to balance his budget because of his mismanagement.”

Wolff said the problem at the jail is not a lack of staff but a lack of management of the staff.

Monday, Ortiz suggested hiring a third party consultant to review the jail staffing issues.

Wolff and County Manager David Smith both welcomed the idea. 

Smith said he suggested such a study in January and would recommend it to the county commissioners if the process in selecting a consultant is open and competitive.

Ortiz has recommended the consulting company Carl R. Griffith & Associates out of Port Arthur to do the job.
 

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