A chance to renew communication
By Daniel Arens
When different people and departments within any branch of government are facing difficult choices, communication is key.
During the Nov. 21 Mercer County Commission meeting, a first step was taken to use that communication to try and diffuse some of the tension between the county commission as a whole and the sheriff’s department.
These tensions have been high since the county commission passed their 2019 budget. Facing a major shortfall, and with dwindling reserves to depend on, the commission made a sweeping array of budget cuts aimed particularly at the sheriff’s department.
The commission’s logic for the decision was the expansion of the sheriff’s department over the last several years. Despite continual concerns raised by county residents about the finances of the county, as well as a hiring freeze, the sheriff’s department grew in size with several new deputies in the last four years.