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County Audit Identifies Holding Center Savings

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz released an audit of the Erie County Holding Center Wednesday. It examined the jail's operational costs during 2005, a year when nearly 20,000 prisoners passed through the facility.

Poloncarz said the audit identified more than $6.3 million in potential savings. He said the biggest problem is the high cost of overtime.

"We found that over $7.75 million was spent on overtime at the Holding Center in 2005. Of that amount, more than $6.1 million was from one area -- security at the Holding Center," Poloncarz said. "We identified better ways of doing it, which could save in the first year alone $2 million."

Poloncarz said the county would have to hire 91 new deputies to eliminate all overtime. While that is not fiscally prudent, he did say savings could be realized by hiring just 11 more deputies while changing the schedule of existing deputies to better meet the Holding Center's security needs.