What has 41 appointees and 16 other people making at least $100-thousand a year? The answer, Wayne County's cash-strapped sheriff's department.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon didn't mince words last week when he told commissioners if his budget is slashed by $20 million, he'll be forced to set hundreds of prisoners free. But many believe that's just a scare tactic being used to get more money and that's a tall order in a county already $180 million in the red.
Sheriff Benny Napoleon has 41 appointees, a good portion who make over $100 grand each.
Wayne county commissioner Ilona Varga says if the sheriff makes necessary cuts he won't have to let any prisoners walk free. And many believe those cuts should start at the top. "I'm willing to sit down and show him where he can save some dollars," Varga said.
How does Sheriff Napoleon's office compare to area departments? Fox 2 talked to the Oakland and Macomb County sheriffs and found out they only have two appointees, compared to sheriff Napoleon's 41.
Speaking for Sheriff Napoleon who is in North Carolina as a delegate for the Democratic National Convention, Undersheriff Dan Pfannes claims the warning was no scare tactic. Pfannes says nothing changes the fact that currently Wayne County has 2,200 inmates and with the recommended budget, the sheriff's department can only afford to staff a jail to hold 1,700.
Regardless he says, they plan to take a closer look at the budget and make cuts where necessary.
Varga says commissioners are working on the budget and will have it completed in a couple of weeks, but because sheriff Napoleon is an elected official, ultimately, they can't tell him how to spend his money.