EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –
This is Part 4 of a series of articles on a letter written by Edgar County Board Member Mike Heltsley and published in the Prairie Press. For the previous articles on this letter search this site for “hopeless mess” or simply click here.
Heltsley continues his spittle by claiming that "nobody wants to work for the guy" and saying "he can't recruit and retain enough qualified personnel to run the shifts at the jail," and stating that is why we might have to move prisoners to Coles County.
That is not why we have to use the Coles County Jail. Did anyone notice he never once takes responsibility for reducing the budget or not providing enough funds to hire extra jailers in the first place. Those were votes taken by the County Board, of which Heltsley is a member. The majority of the blame for this current situation belongs on the board, and by extension, Heltsley.
For the last several years, including previous Sheriffs, the Illinois Department of Corrections has inspected and failed the Edgar County Jail for not having the required number of jailers on staff. This is nothing new, by any means. The County Board gambled that nothing would happen to create a crisis. It worked for awhile, but now they have lost the gamble. Kind of like driving a car around with no spare tire - it works just fine for years, then you get a flat tire in the middle nowhere. Nothing left to do but walk, since there is no spare.
The Sheriff has reminded the board at almost every meeting he attends that he needs more money to hire more jailers, always to be told they don't have the money, deal with what you have. The board has been fully aware of the situation for years and have never lifted a finger to provide enough funds for more jailers. Nobody could foresee that two jailers would resign after allegedly beating up on a prisoner, and that would be the final straw on whether or not we would have send people to Coles County until new jailers can be hired and trained.
So, Mr. Heltsley, if you had been proactive and voted to provide more money to the Sheriff's Department for hiring additional jailers, the County would not be in the position it is in at this time. What you did instead was to vote to reduce his budget - you even made the motion. Thanks for causing the County to spend money they don't have right now because you took a gamble and lost.
People have to work with what they have, the Sheriff has to work with the money the board gives him.
It is not that he can't keep enough people (you won't give him enough money to hire them), or that people don't want to work with him (that will be a different article when I get copies of the resignations) , it is that there has never been money available for extra jailers in case more than one of them quit. So quit trying to blame the the gas can for being empty when you never put any gas in it in the first place.