Morris County Sheriff Ed Rochford, asked to respond to the freeholders’ demand that he re-negotiate contracts or cut jobs, issued this response on Friday:
“I have fulfilled my Constitutional requirement. It is up to the respective unions to decide a course of action, if any, they wish to take. It is disappointing that the collective bargaining process is aired in the press. Hopefully the county and the unions can successfully come to a fair agreement that protects public safety and is fair to taxpayers.”
The freeholders contend that “excessive” raises in four contracts negotiated by the Sheriff will result in budget shortfalls totaling nearly $3 million between now and 2017. Some 28 layoffs would be required by 2018 to cover these deficits, according to the freeholders.
The sheriff has defended increases by saying they are necessary to prevent a high turnover of experienced personnel.