Originally created 03/15/05

Report: Staffing excess in county offices

AIKEN - County leaders were given a report in June that showed staffing shortages in some government offices and excesses in others, but they have yet to act on the recommendations.

The report, from the Archer Co. of Rock Hill, said six of the county's 29 departments were understaffed by 11 people and that 10 departments were overstaffed by 19 employees.

The most needy department was the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, which has since taken over the detention center. The staffing analysis recommended an increase of four employees on the law enforcement side and two in the detention center.

The magistrate court system was the flabbiest, according to the report, which recommended cutting it from 35 employees to 31.

Councilman Scott Singer said Monday that the report was discussed after the council had made budget allocations for the current fiscal year, which started in July, so the council took no action.

The report might be discussed today by the council's administrative committee, said Mr. Singer, who plans to use the study as a reference point while the council drafts next year's budget.

"The Archer study represents one opinion, albeit an expert opinion," Mr. Singer said. "We'll need to take it into account, as well as (the) response from department heads, the administrator and my fellow council members."

At least two department heads said the study was not thorough.

"We have 16,000 child-support cases, and they want me to cut two more staff?" said Clerk of Court Liz Godard. "People complain now that we don't process things fast enough."

The people who conducted the study spent little time observing employees in the clerk's office, relying instead on job-description forms, Ms. Godard said.

Chief Magistrate Judge Jim Edmonds said no one with the Archer group stepped foot in any of the county's eight magistrate courts or traffic and bond courts.

"If the truth be known, we need more help," he said.

Even Sheriff Mike Hunt, who added two criminal domestic violence deputies this year with help from grant money, plans on asking for more than the six additional employees recommended in the report. In all, he said, his department needs four additional patrol deputies, two dispatchers and four more people in the jail.

County Administrator Clay Killian said that some of the recommended cuts could be achieved through attrition and that others might not be necessary.

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or josh.gelinas@augustachronicle.com.

Trimming the fat

An independent study of 29 departments within Aiken County government recommends an overall wor-force reduction of eight people. Results from the study, released in June, have not been implemented.Departments facing cuts include:

Tax Assessor: From 23 employees to 21

Clerk of Court: 37.5 to 35.5

Coroner: 5 to 4.5

Delinquent Tax Collector: 9 to 8

Finance Department: 15.5 to 14

Magistrate Courts: 35 to 31

Probate Court: 14 to 12

Public Service Authority: 38 to 35

Solicitor's Office: 34 to 32

Treasurer: 9 to 8

Source: staffing analysis by the Archer Company, LLC


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