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County likely to allocate additional $2 million to sheriff’s office

Times-Mirror File Photo/Beverly Denny In his first year as sheriff, Republican Mike Chapman (second from left) has run more than $2 million over his $73 million budget allocated from the Board of Supervisors.

Loudoun's Board of Supervisors is likely to allocate an additional $2 million in the current fiscal year to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office to help make up for a roughly $2.3 million overrun in the department's budget.

If the full board agrees to the recommendation from its finance committee, the $2 million will come from enhanced tax revenue not budgeted for by county staff. The board will consider the recommendation during either its March 20 or April 3 meeting.

Despite the finance committee's vote to recommend the funding, several supervisors made known March 12 their displeasure with having to sign off on the additional allocation.

“We don't like to be in this position. We are where we are,” Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), chairman of the finance committee, said. “We don't want to be here next year in this same situation.”

After initially believing the LCSO budget expenditures were in excess of $2.7 million – a figure first brought to light during a March 7 budget work session – county staff briefed supervisors this week that approximately $450,000 of that was a miscalculation from the county's finance, in which they didn't appropriately budget for stipends at the county's detention center.

Overtime pay and personnel is the driving force behind LCSO's budget burst, according to Republican Sheriff Mike Chapman.

On March 12 Chapman told the finance committee he was glad the questions had been brought up, because it was an opportunity to take a broad look at the department's budget.

According to sheriff, approximately $1.2 million of the $2.3 million are holidays that the LCSO is required to pay.

“Why the County categorizes holidays that deputies are required to work as an overtime calculation remains a mystery to me,” Chapman said. “It is a fact that the Sheriff’s Office mans operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We cannot take holidays off.”

Vacancy savings, a county policy through which departments must leave unfilled positions vacant for cost-savings, is also a major element, Chapman said. Vacancy savings alone accounts for the nearly $2 million in overtime expenses.

“This is where we have the most heartburn,” Chapman said, speaking of the vacancy policy.

Board Vice Chairman Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) explained, “we have a significant amount of vacancies – 29, 30 vacancies – and because we can't fill those vacancies [because of the vacancy savings policy] we have to pay people considerable overtime.”

Additionally, high costs for security during presidential and presidential candidate visits to the county during the 2012 campaign and severe weather forced the LCSO to incur unexpected expenses.

Ben Mays, the county's chief finance officer, reiterated comments from a March 7 budget meeting with supervisors that any department overrunning its budget is extraordinarily unusual.

Supervisors this week again expressed disappointment the budget findings weren't brought to their attention earlier, given the sheriff knew in November his department was heading for significant spending beyond his more than $73 million budget.

Chapman accepted blame for the lack of communication and said he'll make sure it doesn't happen in the future.

"From here on out, I'll make sure that we get this information to you so that there is no misunderstanding as to where we are exactly in a budget cycle," Chapman told the supervisors.

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Sorry Myth, it seems the board isn’t buying his story, Buona certainly didn’t sound impressed! I have no issues other than a Cop with a BIG ego. Maybe that’s why they got new uniforms…he needs a larger place for his…ego.

Sheriff Chapman had the decency to spell out for the average tax payer what caused the budget over runs.  In addition he stopped the illegal practice of flex time.  The fact the BoS reversed their previous decision to cover the budget overruns is nothing more than petty political reprisal for Chapman exposing the poor decisions of the BoS. 

P’ville Bus -  Karma? seriously you’ve got issues and sound almost as bitter as your BoS member ex vice chair Clarke.  Chapman has done nothing wrong, the BoS on the other hand should hang their heads in shame as should the LTM.  This paper repeatedly goes after Chapman with deceiving headlines and editorials, if the reporters really did their job, they would have discovered the BoS own actions which caused the lack of staffing and funding for the Sheriff’s department.

Hmmmm, LTM is behind the times! The BOS voted to take back Chapmans money last night! Wonder if they can return those new guns, uniforms, hats and lawnmowers to make up the shortfall? It’s about time our Sheriff got a taste of Karma, after what he did to dedicated senior Deputies!

@ enuf I did notify Warner, Herring, Wolf and Greason about introducing a bill to get the localities money back for political campaigning.
@SARDOC What axe do you speak of the one about responsible spending? Chapman must think he is a democrat thinking it’s ok to spend what you didn’t have
Did I mention SWAT? No. You must have my comments mixed up with someone else’s or your 2 brain cells are colliding creating a haze.

Chapman needs to know that holidays are paid at a higher rate than normal pay….hospitals do it too..this should not have been a surprise.  I do believe that the county and Town of Leesburg and VA State police should submit bills to the campaign offices for the presidential candidates for their visits.  All they can do is say no…but somebody has to start asking for reimbursement.  Something has to be done if the pay rates for deputies is really this out-of-sync with neighboring areas….time to stop buying land for schools and such at such high rates (ie: Lansdowne High School) and be more fiscally responsible to the county.  I for one favor the return of the plastic holiday decorations for the courthouse lawn as a start for the BOS to fund the important stuff.  If holiday decorations are so important, get them donated or buy them at the after-Christmas sales.

Agree 100% with “keep Loudoun beautiful”.....

Wouldnt everyone want a law enforcement agency to have specialized units that are subject matter experts in there areas of operations.

Everyone else has it. As a tax payer and voter in this county I demand it.

I agree with In The Know, sounds to me like Oranges definately has some kind of personal axe to grind. The “SWAT” Team that Chapman created, has saved alot more money in overtime than the unit cost, at a sacrifice to the members of that unit I might add. Its pretty shameful when people like you bash things that you obviously know nothing about.

So the land the Ashburn sheriff’s substation will sit on costs $3,639,000.00. The cost to erect the substation is 7.8 million dollars. That,s a 11 million 200 thousand increase to the Sheriff department facilities. Considering the budget woes this is a really nice St. Patrick day gift for Sheriff Chapman. 13 new positions at a cost of 1 million 600 hundred thousand or a average cost of one hundred twenty-three thousand per position, see anything here?
All in all we have 7.8 acres sitting doing nothing in Ashburn next to the new substation which cost us 5.16 million dollars. Maybe we should sell 3 acres of this property for 660k a acre so the county employees can get their just raises.

In the know…. you are not only wrong but are flat out lying at this point. You are making up facts that are complete BS…. I totally question your resentment against this swat team since that is all you talk about - did you try out and not make it? Do you even work for LCSO?

I ask this because there isnt a full time swat team. Chapman created a Rapid Response Unit - RRU.  A quasi tatical / street crimes / warrant squad / swat / special react unit / overtime reduction unit / patrol unit / training unit. The RRU has saved tax payers well over 100k in overtime as the unit adjusts thier hours to avoid overtime.

Further more, there was no reduction to patrol in or on any level. The sheriff went from 6 squads to 4. That recommendation came straight from the BOS from the consulting group they brought in.

In the know….. all you talk about is 5 people on swat… sounds to me like you dont know sh-t and are trying to stir a pot that isnt even there to stir. The sheriffs office does have issues, but it is far better then what it was. The new admin which only has 4 new people (yes, only 4, everyone else was promoted from within) has some learning to do, however - they are honest and law abiding,  cant say that for the old crew.

To everyone reading this. Go to www.loudoun.gov / podcast-video archive - march 12 budget meeting. Watch the meeting with chapman and his powerpoint, he lays everything out. Make your own judgement on the facts.

Morale is high…. salaries are what is low… deputies like the new uniforms, love the exterior vest and the guns had to be replaced (the old ones were 25 years old). Further more HK bought the old ones back, saving thousands…..

You keep mentioning swat. LCSO has many specialties,  as does every other agency in the world. Community Policing, Crime Prevention, Dare, CSI, Narcotics, Gangs, Robbery / homicide, Sex crimes, Property crimes, Financial crimes, station deputies ect….. Every unit I just mentioned is a full time unit….. Yet in the know only mentions the one unit Chapman saw a need for and created… makes ya wondef where the resentment for that unit comes from and why so much animosity and hatered towards Chapman..

Every other year in the recent past there have been the same vacancy savings and holiday overtime issues, storms, and dignitary visits. This is not the reason for the multi million dollar overtime surprise.  It’s a shame that the BOS and its Finance committee is afraid to confront the Sheriff and question him as to the true reasons for this incredible budget overrun.  Those reasons would include rampant spending with no regard for a budget: new uniforms that weren’t even needed, new hats that were not needed, new guns that were not needed, but all just because Chapman wanted to change things.  Imagine the cost of all of the above for 550 or so deputies..hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The biggest issue however, and something the BOS should be livid about, is the fact that the new Sheriff pulled five deputies off patrol to create a specialty SWAT team (the dept. already had a SWAT team).  He did this with no regard for whether or not the BOS had approved funding for this new unit.  The consequence of this was that for the past year those five patrol positions had to be filled by deputies being forced to work overtime at the time and a half rate.  The math on that is simple and equates to between 450 and 500 thousand dollars in unfunded and unneccessary overtime which has cost the taxpayers of this County dearly, not to mention the stress put on deputies who already work enough overtime.  Imagine being told that you have to work on your weekend off because the Sheriff decided to pull sorely needed patrol deputies in order to create a pet project unit of his.  No wonder the morale is incredibly low.  In doing this the Sheriff essentially did an end run around the Board; instead of asking for funding to create a new unit he just did it and paid for it with almost a half a million dollars in overtime.  If the Board wants to make sure this situation doesn’t happen again, instead of just giving him more money for overtime they ought to be auditing where the money is being spent.  Hard to believe that they don’t already know this.  When will the Sheriff address this issue?  The reasons he has presented are merely smokescreens to divert attention from the complete disregard for accepted budget protocol that has been displayed.

Excuse me but the spending for security on the past election was about 70 thousand dollars by the Sheriffs department. Did the Republicans or the Democrats pay any of that back to the county? Did anyone bother to submit a bill to either candidate.
Maybe Tag Gearson and Ramadan can introduce legislation that requires the political parties to reimburse the localities for security. Each party spent a billion dollars on campaign foofaraw so why not have the extra security costs from campaigns for Congressman, Senator, Governor and the President paid for by their respective organizations?

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