Sheriff Donahue on personal pay cut: 'It's a personal attack'

Sheriff Donahue on personal pay cut: 'It's a personal attack'

CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) - Canyon County commissioners cut $3,000 from the sheriff's pay after he suspended an inmate labor because of a shortage of officers.

Commissioners also on Thursday cut the sheriff's budget by $370,000 during a meeting to finalize the 2015 budget.

"This came out of nowhere," Sheriff Kieran Donahue said. "How can it be explained any way but as a personal attack on me when they take it out of my salary?"

Commissioners cut about $3,000 from Donahue's salary, now $87,000.

Late in July, Donahue suspended the inmate labor program to transfer officers to the jail to maintain the federally mandated number of officers after 23 quit during the month.

Commissioners said they are working on restarting the inmate labor program by moving it to a new department.

"We've been working hard and fast and furious trying to put together what we think will be called the Canyon County Labor Detail," Commissioner Steve Rule said.

Jeff Breach, misdemeanor probation director, will receive a $3,000 increase in salary to take over the labor detail. It will have a $400,000 budget, but details are being worked out.

"I have to put that out there (now) that the sheriff has put us in a crisis," said Commissioner Craig Hanson.

Donahue said the inmate labor detail can't be moved because inmates must be supervised by certified deputies. He said the labor detail could use offenders sentenced to community service, but offenders assigned to the jail's labor detail would require local judges to agree.

The commissioners and sheriff say the labor detail is important because it contributes to working on county roads and helps set up such events as the Canyon County Fair and Caldwell Night Rodeo. Donahue said he kept a deputy on the labor detail through next week's Caldwell Night Rodeo.

The program also reduces crowding at the jail.

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Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune