Orange County Women's JailIn a dispute over civilian works in the OC Jails, an Orange County judge has ruled against the deputy sheriff’s union, saying 140 civilian workers may retain their positions at Orange County jails.

Reportedly the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs must negotiate with the county to resolve issues pertaining to the hiring civilians to perform duties formerly assigned to sworn deputies.

In 2010, the union sued after they learned they were unable to apply for positions being granted to civilian Correctional Services Assistants (CSA).  The union unsuccessfully argued state law requires the county negotiate with them prior to hiring civilian personnel.

The idea of hiring CSAs first came to light in 2008 when budget issues were of increased concern.  Persons hired at CSAs are compensated at a lesser annual salary and receive a “less generous” retirement package.

Since the suit was first brought the number of CSAs has increased from 50 to approximately 140.  County officials say this saves approximately $7 million per year.

Sheriff’s Cmdr. Steve Kea told the OC Register that there are approximately 730 staff positions at county jails.  Deputies, he said, fill about 80%of these jobs.  County officials hope to reduce that number to 64%.

The judge’s order will be finalized in several days.

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