The Union County Quorum Court agreed unanimously on Thursday to a request from Sheriff Ricky Roberts to create a new position within the Sheriff's Office.
Roberts asked to create a new lieutenant position at the UCSO, at the same time eliminating a sergeant position.
"What I'd like to do is take one of my sergeant positions and elevate it to lieutenant," Roberts said.
Establishing the new position will cost about $7,500 to cover the increased pay for a lieutenant, the sheriff said. The money is available in the UCSO budget, and adding the new position will help the UCSO cut back on paying overtime to workers, he said.
"This way, it would give me two supervisors per shift; if one takes off, I've still got another supervisor, I don't have to bring somebody in and pay him overtime," Roberts said.
Roberts said that as of Thursday, the UCSO had six sergeant positions and three lieutenant positions.
"Over time, it'll pay for itself," he said.
Cecil Polk, Justice of the Peace for District 6, moved to create the new position and District 4 JP Steve Ward seconded the motion. JPs voted unanimously in favor of creating the new position.
Roberts said Friday that a currently-serving sergeant will be promoted next Friday, March 24.
Law enforcement agencies across the country have reported difficulty in hiring workers in recent years, the UCSO included. Roberts said last August that the jail, in particular, is hard to staff.
The problem has continued this year. Roberts said a deputy hired in January, who started working at the UCSO in February, was fired earlier in the week because he was consistently late to work.
"I've got anywhere from $300-$500 tied up in them before they even walk in the door – that's physical (exams), psychological and drug screen. And here I am, having to hand this kid a check – he can't come to work on time, he got caught sleeping in the parking lot a couple of times working the jail – because he got his last check on Tuesday," Roberts told JPs on Thursday.
The El Dorado Police Department has had trouble recruiting new officers. The department currently has six vacancies Chief Kenny Hickman said its hoping to fill during civil service exams this month. Applications are due by 4 p.m. on March 31, and examinations will start on April 3.
For more information, or to request and application for the police department, visit the EPD Facebook page or eldoradopolice.org.
Tia Lyons contributed reporting.