Northampton County deputy sheriffs complain to council about staffing, morale

EASTON, Pa. – Northampton County’s deputy sheriffs introduced a listing of complaints to County Council on Wednesday, and their union consultant stated there should not sufficient officers. 

“We want extra deputies to have the division run correctly,” Deputy Brendan Hetherman stated, representing the sheriff’s union.

He raised points about having deputies at Gracedale, the county nursing house, and he stated the workers is stretched when serving warrants and Safety From Abuse orders, the place youngsters or weapons could also be taken from a mother or father.  

Monitoring inmates at hospitals can also be a problem, Hetherman stated throughout a gathering of council’s courts and corrections committee.  

“Water, meals, spit and urine” have been thrown on deputies, who’re uncovered to illness on the small print, Hetherman stated. At instances, “Members of the family, pals and enemies (of inmates) have proven up” on the hospital.  

Hetherman delved into politics, mentioning Steve Lynch, the Republican who misplaced the county government race to incumbent Democrat Lamont McClure by 6,000 votes in November. He stated Lynch has been respectful and supportive of the deputies. 

Below Sheriff Richard Johnston, Hetherman stated morale is down. Johnston is appointed, not elected, in contrast to most Pennsylvania county sheriffs.

The sheriff’s division gives safety on the county authorities heart and transports inmates. The county must amend its House Rule constitution, the county’s equal of the Structure, to have an elected sheriff. 

Johnston, who runs the division, stated there are eight vacancies. He declined to debate some points, saying they’re a part of the collective-bargaining course of. 

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“We’re in contract negotiations. A proposal has been made. They have not responded to it,” Johnson stated of the talks with the union. 

Another points raised by Hetherman, Johnston stated, come all the way down to variations of opinion. Johnston additionally stated that some numbers cited by Hetherman don’t mirror the division’s efficiency and that in the end, the division’s work have to be completed. 

“We’ve got to comply with guidelines and we have now to get jobs achieved,” Johnston stated. 

Commissioner Kerry Myers, who led the assembly, questioned whether or not morale is enough after listening to the 13 pages of complaints. County Government McClure stepped in.  

“It is my choice who the sheriff is in Northampton County,” McClure stated to Myers. 

He stated Myers made “an outrageous assertion” when he recommended administration choices could have put lives at risk.  

“That is my assembly,” Myers stated. 

Council President Lori Vargo Heffner stated any resident and worker can raises points to the board. 

“Anyone who needs to method council is welcome to take action,” she stated. “They’ve to know the boundaries. They will inform us of morale points, however we won’t tackle a labor state of affairs.” That’s the purview of McClure’s administration. 

Shortages of workers happen in different county operations, together with the Juvenile Justice Heart, the place youths are held in detention. 

Courtroom Administrator Jermaine Greene Sr. stated the middle is brief 33 workers members. Low pay is the issue, he stated, so the middle will attempt to usher in part-time employees.

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