The expenditure per officer in Pinal County was $146,970, while the state median was $95,723.
“This is huge,” Jack McClaren said in an interview with the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon News. “This is huge. A lot of things play into that. The overtime budget plays into that.
“Plus, he (Babeu) has taken money from his road deputies and moved it upstairs to the third floor to pay the higher salaries and bring on more administrative staff. That’s why that cost is so extremely high, plus all the take-home vehicles that are given to staff that are not first responders is also a part of that. There’s way too many staff members there that have take-home cars that don’t need them. We, as taxpayers, are paying for that.”
The numbers come from a May 11, 2012, audit performed by the Pinal County Office of Management and Budget for the county’s Board of Supervisors. None of the figures in the report included adult detention (jail).
The audit was created after the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office requested a $3.7 million increase in next year’s fiscal year 2012-2013 general fund budget. Staff recommended a $675,000 increase for items requested and an additional $1.5 million for replacement of patrol vehicles, for a total increase of $2.2 million in operating and equipment spending.
“This is information that the public needed to know about,” McClaren said. “It’s very, very important information for Pinal County and for the voters. The goal of the press release is to let the voters know here in Pinal County the budget crisis that the PCSO is in and has been in for the past two years with the overspending.”
He said the figures are “extremely shocking” and voters need to know that.
The report also shows that during the past 10 years, the PCSO per capita law enforcement spending increased by 39 percent in patrol operations.
Babeu’s per capita law enforcement spending was nearly $19 million for a population of 376,369, the documents state. In 2000-2001, then-Sheriff Roger Vanderpool spent $6.6 million for a population of 182,435. The per capita spending was $36 for 2000-2001 and $50 for 2010-2011.
These figures do not include adult detention (jail). They represent law enforcement or patrol functions. The PCSO budget is $60.1 million, while the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s budget is set at around $80 million.
McClaren is a 19-year veteran of Pinal County law enforcement and a past sheriff’s commander, running against Babeu in the Aug. 28 Republican primary. “I was a commander at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office,” McClaren said. “I participated in the budget process while I was there and never once did we go over budget.
That was from good leadership and being a good steward of taxpayers’ money.”
There are majors areas of where Babeu’s financial leadership is simply lacking, according to McClaren:
- Too many administrative positions being paid at too high of salaries
- Too many take-home county vehicles being given to nonessential staff.
“When compared to all other counties, two border counties, Santa Cruz and Yuma, have a lesser crime rate than Pinal County,” McClaren said.
“Paul Babeu tried selling himself as a congressional candidate and let people believe he was a border sheriff, yet the true border sheriffs simply show better crime statistics.”
According to Pinal County officials, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is still in deficit $888,000 for Fiscal Year 2011-2012.
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski