How not to win Friends nor Influence people

Winning Friends and Influencing People

I believe it is time that we all chip in and send Commissioner Lutz to the Dale Carnegie class that “proved that nice guys can finish first”, because right now he is losing in spite of himself.  First, he has been getting spanked around by his fellow commissioners; you remember: fire then rehire, chairman’s powers,  and the bathroom less park.   Then he was getting spanked by his former colleagues: tift with the Mayor.  Now, the tip line (hughakston@hallcountytruth.com) has turned up a new clash between Lutz and the Sheriff….

I am not sure when the battle started, but it looks to have come to a climax after the May 26th commission meeting and after the evil Times posted talk of a tax increase.   The initial e-mail from a deputy Sheriff to Commissioner Lutz was sent where the deputy said, “I find it refreshing to hear the commission, and especially Mr. Oliver, talk about the plight of the employee….. I was concerned with your (Lutz) comment.”  The deputy went on to suggest that the commission needs to “to prioritize our services.”

Lutz, it seems, felt like it was time to do a complete coup.  He replied to the e-mail by saying, “We are past prioritization; we are to the point of complete reorganization.  If it were up to (Lutz), we would move CCA to the new jail and move the Sheriff back to the old jail.  (The county) could collect more revenue from CCA at the new jail than (the county) get(s) from the Sheriff on boarding prisoners AND the Sheriff would have to cut his jail crew back to about 145 people (including staff).  If it were up to Lutz, the commission would exercise 200.20.019(a) of the Hall County Code; “The board of commissioners of Hall County is hereby delegated the police powers…””  CCA is a company that is used when government outsources a jail.  So in one sentence, Lutz tells a deputy that he is going to kick the Sheriff out of the new jail AND create a Hall County police force.

Well, it didn’t take long for the deputy to send on Lutz’s reply to the Sheriff who was shocked by Lutz’s comments saying; “I have to say that I’m somewhat surprised by the tone and comments regarding our department.”  The Sheriff went on to say that he has always been willing to open the books for the commissioners, but they haven’t taken the Sheriffs offer.  Of course, the Sheriff added the entire board to his e-mail distribution opening up more opportunities for comments and, Lutz being Lutz was willing to comment.

Lutz replied and broke it down for the Sheriff.  Here is an excerpt:

As far as the idea on swapping jails, the idea is not fully baked and because I have not gone to the entire board (like with trash) for consensus, I have not asked for staff assistance.  However, these are my thoughts: Hall County currently receives about $2m per year in rent on the “old Jail” that has about 500 beds.  The new jail has about 1000 beds, so I would anticipate that we would be able to double our rent on the new jail.  If we consider that CCA uses about 150 people (including Staff on the old jail) and the new jail has a minimum staffing level of 250 (per the Hall County Sheriff’s office vital statistics), we can assume a savings based on the budgeted number.  Using the 2011 budget for the detention center, $15,642,627, dividing by 250 employees and multiplying by 150 for the new jail, that would mean that the required budget would be $9,385,576 to operate the old jail.  This is a $6.25m savings.  This is the beak down:

•             CCA rent for new jail-                  $4,000,000

•             Loss of rent on old jail-               ($2,000,000)

•             Loss of boarding –                         ($6,269,651) estimated for 2012

•             Savings from labor-                      $6,257,051

Total impact to budget               $1,987,400 in savings to the tax payer!

Sheriff, you have the ability to save almost $2m per year to the Hall County taxpayer.  The numbers that I am using are conservative; therefore, the savings could be a lot more.  I am willing to explore the idea even further with or without your assistance, but I believe that we need to look at every possibility.  I could see a scenario where we potentially outsource all of our detention to CCA.  If CCA would charge us ~$30 per day per inmate, at a population of about 400 inmates per day, we could potentially save another $5m on top of the $2m already cited:

•             CCA rent for new jail-                  $4,000,000

•             Loss of rent on old jail-               ($2,000,000)

•             Loss of boarding –                         ($6,269,651) estimated for 2012

•             Cost of Boarding w/ CCA-          ($4,380,000) 400 inmates x $30 per day x 365 days

•             Savings from labor-                      $15,642,627

Total impact to budget               $6,992,976 in savings to the tax payer!

An almost $7m savings coupled with the cuts from administration would be more than enough to meet budget while restoring furlough days and retirement.

I have obviously editorialized some of the content and taken some of the quotes slightly out of context.  It would appear that Lutz has an idea to save money.  This idea is similar to his trash idea to save money.  The clash with the Sheriff will be spun to say that Lutz is against a secure Hall County, but most of the e-mails dealt with the Jail.   They will say that he is against public safety.  But, apparently, the Jail costs the county over $15.5m per year!   Another source mentioned that the jail normally has less that 400 Hall county people which begs the question; why is the Chairman is opposed to taking garbage from Atlanta, but their prisoners are o.k.?!?

I think Lutz has some ideas; however, I don’t think he could get them implemented even if he had a roadmap.  I know the budget is tough and it may be difficult to find him a class, so I wonder if someone can reach out and send him the book.  It looks like it is less than $12 on Amazon.com and I believe it would be a great investment in our community.

Hugh Hall County Akston

  5 comments for “How not to win Friends nor Influence people

  1. HallWatchDog
    May 28, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I think Lutz is doing what needs to be done. Revamp the departments and cut costs. Not do what has always been done. Business cuts costs to make money and so should government.

    Keep up the fight Commisioner Lutz. There are more who support you than do not.

  2. George T
    May 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    What’s his address? I can send him a copy. It would be cheaper than a tax increase or a rise in trash fees.

  3. T.J. Grant
    May 30, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Saving money is great but at what cost? The immigration housed at CCA are not the “bad apple” types that the Sheriff’s Deputies have to deal with. There can be no comparison of “apples to apples” to base his comments. However I think that we should not be trying to make money off of housing for other counties because the ones that they send up here are their problem children and in some cases very dangerous. The Sheriff’s Dept is doing the best that they can just like the other departments.

  4. DL Peebles
    June 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Before Commissioner Lutz continues with his “proposals” he needs to be sure of his facts.

    Per OCGA 42-4-4 “Duties of sheriff is to jail inmates; designation of inmate as trusty; (a) It shall be the duty of the sheriff: ….. (2) To furnish persons confined in the jail with medical aid, heat, and blankets, to be reimbursed if necessary from the county treasury, for neglect of which he shall be liable to suffer the penalty prescribed in this Code section; provided, however, that, with respect to an inmate covered under Article 3 of this chapter, the officer in charge will provide such person access to medical aid and may arrange for the person’s health insurance carrier to pay the health care provider for the aid rendered;… (c) Any sheriff or deputy who fails to comply with this Code section shall be fined for contempt, as is the clerk of the superior court in similar cases. The sheriff or deputy shall also be subject to removal from office as prescribed in Code Section 15-6-82.”

    So we can’t take away the duties of the Sheriff in reference to the jail

    However; the county has no lawful requirement for operating the correctional institute and could in fact transfer all duties of the CI to the sheriff’s department.

    Let’s do these same calculations on the Correctional Institute that Commissioner Lutz perform inaccurately on the Sheriff’s department jail. Please ensure the correct calculations are used unlike the above examples.

    Before we go attacking the Sheriff and his department the commission needs to investigate increasing or taking a “fee for service” approach to the budget. We need to look at increasing our EMS transport fees to be comparable to other surrounding jurisdictions, Gwinnett County is currently $975 per transport plus $15 per mile, even Madison County (more rural than we are) charges $1000 per transport. This increase would be paid for by insurance companies and could in fact have a realized revenue increase of almost $2.5 million dollars. (this is figured at a 50% collection rate)

    Include a fee for service for use of the parks and libraries, charge for some services the fire department provides. By law we can’t charge for fire protection but there are agencies nationwide that have started charging for specialty services, ie marine rescue, hazmat responses etc. again these fees would be covered by insurance companies and would not have a negative impact on the citizens of Hall County.

    Finally we as citizens of Hall County need to recognize that we cannot continue to expect our public safety employees who put their lives on the line daily for us to barely make above minimum wage after you take out their furlow days, and increases in insurance premiums. Most work 2-3 part time jobs just so their families can have a decent income, and yet then their family life suffers because they are never home.

    My husband gave 25 years to Hall County prior to his death in 2010. Though he did not die “in the line of duty” he suffered from a disease for 10 years that was caused by a chemical that he was exposed to in a fire.

    These brave men and women deserve better than what we are giving them!! We owe it to ourselves and to the employees of Hall County to investigate OTHER options for the budget shortfall.

  5. old suzzanna
    June 10, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    The 35% might be worth it if they actually arrested people they know have broke the law such as illegals and gang members–they rather harass people like anybody who ask them to be more conservative with our tax money.

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