Thursday, July 17, 2014



Feds decide not to continue ICE deal
At least 100 Pinal employees to lose jobs
Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 8:40 am
By ADAM GAUB, Maricopa Monitor

FLORENCE — After months of waiting for a response from the federal government about a contract to house prisoners for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Pinal County finally has its answer: No.
County officials learned Tuesday — just 10 days before the contract expires — that ICE is rejecting the county's proposal. County officials notified ICE in April that they wanted to increase the per diem rate for ICE detainees from $59.64 to $87.96.

The absence of ICE detainees means some employees at the Pinal County Adult Detention Facility won't have jobs after next week.
According to a letter obtained by the Maricopa Monitor, the number of ICE detainees being held at the detention center has dwindled in recent weeks to the point where portions of the facility are empty. According to the letter, penned by a volunteer at the detention center, staff members were told last Thursday that their jobs would end later this month — some on July 21 and the rest on July 25 when the contract officially expires.

The total number of detention officers and other employees on the county payroll who could lose their jobs as a result of the ICE contract cancellation has yet to be finalized. When Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu addressed the matter before county supervisors in May 2013, when the board was first considering dropping the contract, he said up to 200 jobs could be at stake. Other estimates put that number between 100 and 130 positions.

Attempts to reach County Manager Greg Stanley on Tuesday were unsuccessful, but Stanley told the Monitor earlier this month that he had been "pessimistic" about reaching a deal with ICE before the deadline.
County Supervisor Steve Miller, who has been one of the most vocal proponents of ending the ICE deal, declined to comment until Stanley made the announcement official.

Miller did say, however, that internal estimates done at the county level show canceling the contract could save Pinal upwards of $3 million annually.
"We just approved a 2.5 percent raise for our employees that cost us about $2.5 million, so if we can save $3 million a year, that would help right there," Miller said.

County officials have said the county loses an estimated $55,000 per week housing inmates under the current contract. Officials estimate the county has spent $15 million on housing detainees above the amount ICE has paid the county.

The county first entered a deal with ICE to house inmates in 2006.
Late last month, supervisors approved a new reduction in force policy, in part as a contingency in the event of the contract's termination


US rejects Arizona county's proposal on detainee payments
By Associated Press
Originally published: Jul 17, 2014 - 12:14 pm

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. -- The federal government has rejected Pinal County's proposal that the county be paid more to house immigration detainees in the county jail.

The county had notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement in April that it would terminate the county's money-losing contract unless the federal agency accepted the county's proposal to raise the daily per-detainee payment rate.

The Casa Grande Dispatch reported that county officials learned of the rejection on Tuesday, just 10 days before the contract's expiration.

The county intended for the contract initially signed in 2006 to help pay for construction of the new jail. However, county officials say it has turned out that the county's taxpayers have been subsidizing federal costs for detention.

The county proposed increasing the daily rate per detainee to $87.96 from $59.64.


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