Johnson Co. sheriff says hiring about 40 employees will cut $6 mil. overtime in half

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- Working overtime is nothing unusual, but when the Johnson County sheriff is asking for another $3 million to cover is deputies who work a lot of overtime, it's not going to be easy.

A county audit revealed that some Johnson Co. deputies have been racking up major overtime hours. Some deputies that had upwards of $200,000 accumulated over three years.

Thursday afternoon, the sheriff met with county commissioners to provide alternatives to cut down on overtime.

In 2014, $3.4 million was budgeted for overtime in the sheriff’s office. But Sheriff Frank Denning said that was not enough to begin with. He’s now asking for another $3 million to cover overtime costs. That comes to a total of about $6 million.

So he came to the table with some solutions. Sheriff Denning thinks the best alternative will be to hire about 40 new employees, half as civilians.

"One has to be careful when we say we're going to hire the 42 positions that it will not reduce the OT hours to zero," Denning said.

The savings won’t kick in for another two years. But will cut the amount of overtime in half. The sheriff will need more than $2 million to hire those 40 employees.

"If you have overtime and you can replace that with people that are working regular shifts rather than working overtime, you would want to do that," said vice chairman Jason Ostenhaus.

Denning said that’s the most viable solution, but have yet to convince all the commissioners.

In order to come up with the money, the commissioners express fear that they will have to cut other department budgets or it will fall on tax payers.

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