Sheriff, court clerk seek funds for more workers

WOODSTOCK – The Shenandoah County sheriff and circuit court clerk have asked for more money in next year’s budget, mostly to boost staff numbers.

County Administrator Mary T. Price presented her recommended budget to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The Board of Supervisors began its work on the budget Thursday by discussing the funding requests for each of the county’s five constitutional offices: sheriff, commonwealth’s attorney, circuit court clerk, treasurer and commissioner of the revenue.

Price’s recommended budget includes an additional $632,864 to cover new positions requested by the sheriff and the clerk of the circuit court. The State Compensation Board funds some constitutional office salaries. However, the county would have to cover $601,235 of the $632,864 in the proposed budget.

Sheriff Timothy Carter’s proposed budget request includes funding for one full-time investigator and two full-time deputies. Carter also requested a 75 percent increase in overtime compensation, a stipend for specialized or certification training and an increase in holiday pay compensation for sworn staff. He also asked for funding to pay for a part-time animal control officer.

The sheriff cited a staffing needs study conducted years ago that recommended an increase in the number of sworn officers for his agency. The county has yet to act on the study’s recommendations, he said.

But the Sheriff’s Office continues to deal with the growing opioid abuse and addiction crisis, Carter said, noting that all sworn officers in his agency are in some way involved in cases connected to the problem. He said the investigator position would be assigned to the area drug task force if funded.

Carter urged the board to fully fund his renewed request for money he needs to cover overtime pay for his officers, citing  several examples of incidents his agency investigated that resulted in hundreds of hours worked by his officers involved.

Circuit Court Clerk Sarona Irvin reminded the board her office asked for two full-time workers while eliminating a part-time employee in this fiscal year. The office hired one full-time worker and the part-time employee left. But the office still faces problems with the workload. Irvin said her employees continue to work overtime to perform the tasks necessary.

She said her office suffers from high turnover and many employees leave for better pay at the lower court.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney, Commissioner of the Revenue and the Treasurer asked for roughly the same amount of funding in the next budget they received for this fiscal year.