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Sheriff asks for hiring freeze exemption

— Stating that the process could take too long if it had to go through committee, Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting sought and received a preliminary exemption from the Essex County hiring freeze policy.

Cutting asked that his office be considered in the same class as the Horace Nye Nursing Home when it came to hiring, meaning he would not have to go through committee review before seeking to fill a position. As part of the 2013 budget talks, supervisors resolved to have all hiring requests come through committee to be approved.

Cutting said during the Jan. 14 Public Safety Committee meeting that his request had to do with the fact that many of his positions in corrections are under state mandate to be filled.

“If I lost an officer tomorrow, I would have to wait until next month for committee and then for Ways and Means and the full board,” Cutting said. “That creates an overtime situation while I am waiting for the full board to make its decision. With the hiring freeze, a six-week period could very well be turned into 12.”

Cutting said that the department is currently down four positions, which were being covered in-house.

“If we are a person down, then I will bring in from overtime because I am not going to jeopardize safety,” he said.

The supervisors passed the resolution through committee, but asked that the Sheriff look into alternatives when it came to filling positions, including part-time employees.

“Essex and Fulton county are the only ones that do not operate with any part-time employees,” Westport Supervisor Dan Connell said. “We are in a position that we have got to do business differently. Do this for a minimal amount of training and save us substantial money.”

Willsboro Supervisor Ed Hatch was the lone vote against the request.

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