New sheriff’s budget takes it on the chin 

click to enlarge “Part of my — I don’t want to say problem — but I came to this budget late.” — Sheriff Vicki Hennessy - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • “Part of my — I don’t want to say problem — but I came to this budget late.” — Sheriff Vicki Hennessy

Ah, the perks of office. With suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi facing a permanent ouster, his replacement, Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, suddenly inherited some difficult budget decisions.

And Wednesday, her budget presentation was criticized by the chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee for lacking detail.

“There are no questions at this time from the committee because I think that the information that we have been presented with is just not what we were looking for,” said Supervisor Carmen Chu. “We were looking for much more details.”

Hennessy said, “Part of my — I don’t want to say problem — but I came to this budget late.”

Lee had instructed department heads to submit proposed two-year budgets by Feb. 21. But Hennessy did not become interim sheriff until March 21, when she replaced Mirkarimi, who was suspended by Mayor Ed Lee for alleged official misconduct related to a New Year’s Eve domestic violence incident. Mirkarimi himself only took office Jan. 8.

But at Wednesday’s budget review hearing, Chu wasn’t happy about the lack of details regarding overtime spending, impacts of state prisoner realignment and why the department wants more money.

The department is seeking $149.1 million next fiscal year, an increase over its current budget of $146.8 million. Chu said Hennessy also has to explain what the department’s long-term plan is for reducing expenditures, as all departments must help solve The City’s long-term projected deficit.

“I just want to note that the fact is this is the budget that was presented before I became sheriff,” Hennessy said.

“So now I am trying to work backward from it to answer exactly the questions you are talking about, and unfortunately we haven’t gotten to that point yet.”

Lee must submit a city and county budget to the Board of Supervisors for review and adoption by June 1.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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