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After weathering $22 million in budget cuts last year, Alameda County’s district attorney, public defender, probation and sheriff’s offices might have to shave another $31 million this year, department heads say. The reductions are part of a plan to help county leaders close a $98 million budget gap. County Administrator Susan Muranishi will present the proposed budget to the Board of Supervisors on June 3. The board would have to finalize any cuts. But unlike last year, some department heads are reluctant to spell out how the cuts will affect agencies. The doom-and-gloom predictions they made in 2003 �� that budget cuts would put prosecutors, PDs and jail staff out of work and that the DA would stop prosecuting misdemeanors �� didn’t happen. “You know about the boy who cried wolf?” said DA Tom Orloff. “I am going to wait until the wolf gets to my ankle.” Last year , the county scraped together $16 million in “one-time” funding to soften the $38 million blow. But department heads say this year’s cuts could have more of an impact. So far, Orloff has been asked to trim $4.3 million from his $48 million budget. Last year he cut about $2.5 million and shed about 30 vacant positions. This time, there are fewer empty posts because fewer people on his 300-person staff have retirement plans, Orloff said. Everyone in the office must shoulder more work because he can’t make new hires to replace the workers he lost last year, he added. “This year it’s much worse,” Orloff said. The sheriff’s department �� the largest of the four departments �� is taking the brunt of the reductions. The sheriff has been asked to carve $15.8 million from a $202 million budget, said Assistant Sheriff Robert Maginnis. The county bankrolls $135 million of the sheriff’s budget, with the rest generated by contracting services out to other agencies. Last year the department was able to avoid giving pink slips to more than 200 civilian jail workers, but was forced to end a community re-entry program, which included a work furlough program, job training, a library and other services that help offenders integrate into the community, Maginnis said. This year, the department has notified jail workers that their jobs are once again in jeopardy. “It’s incredibly difficult now,” Maginnis said, noting that there is much less wiggle room in the budget this year. “There’s no way we can move things around to make them whole.” Meanwhile, the probation department is looking for ways to shave $5 million from its $71.5 million budget. The county’s proposed $5 million cut comes at a time when the probation department is already $5.6 million over budget because of a spike in workers’ compensation insurance payments. The department may also lose $7.1 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families money. The governor has proposed routing TANF funds that go to probation agencies to CalWorks, Ramsey said. The department has plans to close one juvenile hall housing unit, which would reduce the facility’s capacity to 299, said department spokeswoman Nina Ramsey. Camp Sweeney, a county program for at-risk youth, will stay at 80 beds, but may lose some programming services. There are a few bright points, Ramsey pointed out. “At this point we are keeping the camp,” she said, later adding, “We are not in layoff mode yet.” The fourth public protection department head affected by the cuts, Public Defender Diane Bellas, did not return calls for comment on this story.

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