Dodge County Board Reviews Sheriff’s Department Audit

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board reviewed the final draft report of an operational analysis of the sheriff’s office Tuesday night. Last December, the county board hired Matrix Consulting Group of California to review several different areas including an evaluation of budgeting and financial procedures. The study also looked at staffing levels; evaluated service contracts such as food, medical and US Marshal Holds; and developed best practice policies.

The audit made several recommendations including transitioning the jail staff from an eight-hour work shift to 12-hours with a shorter work week. Supervisor David Guckenberger questioned the idea, suggesting that the move could lead to an accumulative 13,000 hours of overtime. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says changing to a 12-hour shift would increase hours but there are ways to formulate the schedule so that extra overtime is not created.

The review also noted that there was an inadequate level of supervision in the jail. Matrix Consulting Group recommended adding four sergeant positions in order to ensure operations are effectively managed and running smoothly. Schmidt says this was an issue he was already aware of. He says he has known for a long time that the jail has been short in sergeant positions and that they have had to carry heavy workloads. Schmidt says he did not bring the matter up to the county board because of opposition to increase staffing levels in the jail. He says adding a deputy security position to assist the sergeants would also be beneficial.

Also on last night’s agenda was a resolution to abolish a detective’s position within the sheriff’s office drug-task force and convert it to a sergeant position. The matter was first presented to the county board during their April meeting but it was postponed until the report was completed. Matrix Consulting Group concluded that supervision of the unit is vital and recommended going ahead with the change. However, a motion was made – which passed – to again postpone the vote until September so the county board can thoroughly go through the report. Schmidt says he is fine with the decision and adds that he will bring all new positions or staffing changes for county board approval next month. Now that the report is complete, the External Audit Committee will review it. The sheriff’s office has final say on any operational decisions while the county board will be able to vote on any fiscal recommendations made by the analysis.