Letter details JSO layoffs; mayor issues statement

Sheriff Rutherford letter: 319 positions to be eliminated

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Channel 4 has obtained a copy of an internal email that was sent to all Jacksonville Sheriff's Office employees detailing layoffs coming in the next few months.

The letter, written by Sheriff John Rutherford, outlines the details involved in eliminating 319 positions from the agency, including all 63 JSO community service officers in August. 

"I would categorize our budget discussions thus far, internally and with both the mayor's office and various members of the city council, as deliberative and comprehensive, but simply put: the pain continues," Rutherford wrote. "I have continued to voice my frustration over the percentage of our expenses which are NOT controlled by us. I am referring to internal services provided by the city for which actual costs should be identified, but cannot be."

The letter also says the community transition center will be closing.

Mayor Alvin Brown issued the following statement, saying: "I have personally met with Sheriff Rutherford numerous times in the development of the proposed city budget. While I respect the Sheriff and our dedicated public safety officers and employees, I strongly disagree with the Sheriff's proposal to raise property taxes on hardworking taxpayers. In these very difficult economic times where nearly 38,000 Jacksonville citizens are unemployed, taxpayers cannot afford to bear additional burdens. Instead, every branch of government must do its part to streamline operations, eliminate duplication, and increase efficiency. Key services like fire and rescue, libraries, and children's programs should not have to sustain more than their fair share in spending cuts."