CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Funding to help the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office hire employees has been temporarily put on hold following a Charleston County Council meeting Tuesday night. The delay comes as County Council works to determine exactly where the nearly 4 million dollars they need to do so will come from.
The $3.8 million originally approved by Charleston County Council in December hit a snag Tuesday night as council figures out where the money will come from. Regardless, Sheriff Kristin Graziano says she’s confident council will get the money to the sheriff’s office to help it stay competitive.
“I’ve been reassured by council that the funding is there,” says Shariff Graziano. “It just sends a confusing message to 800 employees, they think now all of a sudden that this funding has been taken away and it has not.”
Sheriff Graziano says she asked county council for the money in December to raise wages and make the agency more competitive in hopes of attracting more deputies and jail staff. She says Tuesday’s failed vote is just a step in the process of securing the funding.
“They absolutely will, there’s no doubt that they will figure out where it’s going to come from, but yesterday’s vote won’t slow us down.” says Sheriff Graziano. “It’s just disappointing because it’s a distraction.”
Since council approved the funding back in December, Sheriff Graziano says her agency has been able to hire more staff, including the swearing-in of 30 deputies over the next two weeks. Sheriff Graziano says it’s helped to attract much-needed staff.
“This is the first time in the last six or seven years that I can remember that we are finally below triple digits for vacancies in the jail,” says Sheriff Graziano.
For now, the Sheriff’s Office is using its money to hire people and pay better wages. Sheriff Graziano says money from the county will help push the process forward. Any unspent money from the $3.8 million allocation would return to Charleston County.
“You know I appreciate the support the five members gave us in December that voted to do this, now let’s go to the finish line,” says Sheriff Graziano. “Let’s get this to the finish line.”
Sheriff Graziano expects county council to work out some of the details of where the money will come from before putting it back before county council for another vote.