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Riverside County Sheriff’s Department ends this Last Fiscal Year Budget in the “Black"


September 23, 2016

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif – The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department ended last fiscal year (FY 2015/16) within its authorized Riverside County budget target with a surplus of approximately $14 million. The surplus will be returned to the Board of Supervisors for their discretionary use in this new fiscal year that started on July 1.

This Sheriff’s concerted management effort yielded this intentional budget surplus. In late 2015, the Department became aware of the County’s looming budget challenges for the coming fiscal year and took a proactive approach to address the issue. Beginning this past spring, savings were strategically achieved by planning in advance to leave non-critical vacancies unfilled for a prolonged period of time, where possible, and allow the overall workforce to be reduced through gradual attrition as the fiscal year end approached.

As a result, from July 1, 2015, thru June 30, 2016, the Department experienced a net loss of 131 positions in addition to other savings, to better prepare for the budget reductions that occurred when the Board adopted the current spending plan for FY 2016/17. The Department achieved substantial savings in service and supplies costs by strategically planning major purchases and using alternate funding sources when possible this past year, in addition to slowing hiring so that personnel attrition was not fully offset.

Further reductions in department staffing through routine attrition will be required during this new 2016/17 fiscal year in addition to those of last year. By starting that process last year, the Sheriff’s Department decisively poised itself to better meet this year’s County budget target reductions in public safety funding without use of layoffs or other more draconian fiscal measures. The Sheriff has committed to partner with the Board and CEO to meet their specified budget target reductions this year, even though this will necessitate reductions in some service levels for the current year to help meet the County’s current fiscal challenges.

The 2016 KPMG Criminal Justice Report verified the Sheriff’s Department’s budget data is routinely provided to the Board of Supervisors and Executive Office in by far the most detailed and exacting format of the County Departments they reviewed this past year. KPMG is currently working with Riverside County on an improved budget model and study of MOU and ISF (Internal Service Fund) efficiencies to better contain those countywide cost increases passed on to the Sheriff and other County departments. In addition to its own expectations for operational excellence, the Sheriff’s Department sets a high standard for itself in terms of its scientific budgeting process, and routinely controls expenditures within 1% of annual projections – an exceptionally precise budget management accomplishment.

This is a highly commendable result for a massive agency of over $700 million in annual spending with widely varied legal responsibilities, emergency 24/7 first responder operations, and is a testament to the degree of professionalism and precision that the Sheriff’s senior executives and business management team brings to the budget management process. The fact that the Department was able to operate within its budget, find savings during the past difficult year and ready itself for an even more difficult set of challenges this year, underscores the Sheriff’s commitment to both honor the fiscal direction provided by the Board of Supervisors and then partner with them and the CEO in dealing with those challenges.

The Sheriff’s Department will return $14 million in surplus funds from the previous fiscal year to the Board of Supervisors. However, the Sheriff’s Department was not fully funded to maintain previous levels of service and has not been authorized to fund certain critical initiatives in this current fiscal year. The Sheriff has recommended to the County that some of those surplus funds be returned to the Department this year to cover the cost of staff positions within the jail system, required this fiscal year to fully comply with the recent Prison Law Office (PLO) consent decree, rather than relying upon massive overtime use by existing staff to meet that new legal requirement. The Sheriff’s Department’s budget was cut $34.4 million from its full budgetary request for this fiscal year – which had included approximately $6 million for hiring additional staff specifically required to meet the County’s new PLO consent decree.



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