In less than a week, the sheriff’s department will enter crucial budget hearings without knowing who the department's new leader will be.
With more than 20,000 vote-by-mail ballots yet to be counted, Scott Jones leads Jim Cooper by about 7,000 votes. Neither candidate has the required majority to avoid a runoff. So when Sacramento County supervisors sit down next week for budget hearings, retiring Sheriff John McGinness will not have a clear successor. Jones says that’s a challenge:
Jones: “I wanted the department to have some sort of certainty on which direction the department’s going, under whose leadership. So that’s an unfortunate reality. Over the next five months, we’re still going to be in that sort of limbo.”
Cooper: “I think it’ll be tough, but the men and women are used to it. And they’re true professionals. That’s the bottom line. This budget crisis that we’re facing the next two weeks definitely weighs on their mind.”
Last August, the county laid off 120 sheriff’s deputies. And this time, the department could have to make another $30 million in cuts.
The campaign has been ugly at times, with accusations flying over the two candidates’ legal and ethical conduct. Both say they hope the runoff will be less negative.