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Muskegon Co Sheriff & Prosecutor ask for staff, leave frustrated as board delays pot money decision again

Muskegon Co Sheriff & Prosecutor
Posted at 9:52 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 06:26:07-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Muskegon County board once again postponed what to do with marijuana tax money. The county has more than $600,000 of it just sitting right now.

Last month the county agreed for a few secretaries at the prosecutor's office to get a pay raise. Tuesday night, a majority of the commissioners said "no" to adding six correctional officers to its jail and reinstating a captain.

"I mean, it is frustrating and, as disappointing as what it is, especially when we were able to show such a clear need," Muskegon County Sheriff Michael Poulin said.

As of June 7, the Muskegon County jail has 48 correctional officers. The sheriff wants to get that number to 54, which he says is the Michigan Department of Corrections' recommendation.

"I'm asking for where we're supposed to be. That's it. Where were we supposed to be? We were all done wrong. Alright, we were done wrong. Prior to me coming into this office, Muskegon County was lied to, and it's time to make the correct," Poulin said.

The sheriff's and prosecutor's offices are competing for a piece of the pie. Muskegon County has received $677,000 of marijuana tax money from sales in 2021.

Last month, the board approved moving around $15,000 to the prosecutor's office.

"I'm all about making sure we stay fair. I'm all about departments making sure that they're paid right. And people are paid, right departments do that," Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson told commissioners.

The commissioners are now postponing additional adjustments as they conduct a salary study.

"I agree with the sheriff salary study isn't going to tell you whether or not I need positions, I need positions, again, that salary study means absolutely nothing for that, that doesn't fill that hole," Hilson added.

County Board Chairman Robert Scolnik says the county is doing this to be financially responsible.

"Can we do it this year. You bet we could do it. What about next year or the year after that. That's what I'm concerned about. This has got to be sustainable," Scolnik said.

But the sheriff and the prosecutor both agree their issues can't wait too long.

"I provided you all the data caseload study that, again, suggests we are 17 lawyers short, I'm asking for one. And in certainly the salary study, those numbers aren't going to change whether you do an a salary study internally, or whether you do a salary study externally that those numbers aren't going to change, just so you're all aware," Hilson said.

"My request is about personnel, you know, boots on the ground, people working in our facility, protecting our community, you know, and supporting this county," Poulin said.

At this moment we don't know when the salary study will be done. Tuesday, they mentioned looking at Livingston County's study when it is finished as a reference for salary expectations. The sheriff says he plans to bring up his proposal to add those seven positions.

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