Santa Maria Branch Jail Likely Staying Open

Two months ago, Sheriff Bill Brown suggested shutting down the Santa Maria branch jail to cut costs, but that possibility appeared off the table after county budget hearings on 6/13. The county executive office recommended the supervisors set aside nearly $1 million to keep the facility open during the next fiscal year. That would fund six full-time Sheriff’s deputies. Because of staffing shortages and medical issues, the Santa Maria jail was shut down for a total of 37 hours in the past year, requiring deputies to shuttle arrestees to the South County jail. In other news, after more than a year, the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association reached a tentative labor deal with the county, which includes a pay raise of 2 percent this year, 2 percent next year, and 3 percent the following year. It will go before the county supervisors on 6/21.

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