Sixteen corrections deputies at the Pierce County Jail were laid off effective Wednesday as part of a $3 million budget cut.
That reduction “has been difficult for each and every one of us,” Sheriff Paul Pastor told the County Council on Tuesday.
The council approved the cut Sept. 24 to help plug a $5 million shortfall in the jail’s budget. It also added a pot of $60,000 in retirement incentives that could be parceled out to as many as five deputies 65 and older, possibly allowing other jobs to be restored.
Pastor said the Sheriff’s Department is working with the Corrections Deputies Guild to preserve as many positions as possible. Offering the retirement incentive must be worked out with the union, which could take up to two weeks, he said.
One of the 16 deputies laid off will be rehired as a patrol deputy Oct. 14.
If positions are restored because of retirements, laid-off deputies would be hired back based on seniority, Pastor said.
“I remain hopeful,” he said in an interview.
Last week, the council approved County Executive Pat McCarthy’s supplemental budget calling for the $3 million cut. Her budget filled the rest of the gap with $2 million from reserves and increased sales tax revenue.
The $5 million total shortfall has resulted from Tacoma and Lakewood sending their misdemeanor bookings to jails that charge lower rates.