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Sheriff asks for hiring freeze exemption

— “I would think that this stuff should be looked at by the budget committee before we look at this,” he said. “We have that committee there to look at these things and see how they fit in the budget.”

“That is not the purpose of the budget committee,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava countered. “I think that this issue is very ell explained by the sheriff and he has the paperwork to back it up. The committee is looking to put in place a three- to five-year plan. It is not about bringing every staffing issue to the committee. All of these positions are in the budget.”

Hatch said he was concerned that more departments would seek similar relief.

“If everybody is going to come in here and do this, then we are going to be right back here in November,” he said.

Offender registry

Cutting also offered a presentation from members of Watch Systems, LLC. The company operates the Offender Watch Network, which is currently used to help track sexual offenders in Clinton, Franklin, Washington and Warren counties.

In total, the company is operating in a total of 30 states either statewide or county-by-county, and with more than 4,500 local law enforcement and government agencies.

Cutting said that bringing the program to Essex County, which would include an investigative and public Internet presence, would cost $4,000 for the first year and $3,500 annually thereafter.

“I think that for that amount of money, we need to take a look at this,” board chairman Randy Douglas said. “One of our responsibilities is to keep our constituents safe, and this is something that can help our sheriff and district attorney when it comes to that.”

Currently, Cutting said there are 134 registered sexual offenders in the county, including 15 level three (the most severe) and 52 level two offenders, with three still pending evaluation.

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