Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard Seeks Larger Overtime Budget After Staffing Visits by Donald Trump, Mike Pence in Last Year

Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard wants $100,000 to cover staff overtime next year as he expects more political visits here as the 2020 election year approaches.

Visits to Ohio County in 2018 by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence — as well as a series of flood emergencies — caused the sheriff’s department overtime budget to escalate, Howard told county commissioners Tuesday night.

He presented his budget for the 2020 fiscal year to commissioners, which included a request for $100,000 in expected overtime for his deputies. In total, Howard seeks $4.28 million next year to operate his department, up from $3.8 million for fiscal 2019.

Howard said during a typical year he earmarks $35,000 for overtime cost — an amount he said is about equal to the overtime costs incurred for each visit by the president and vice president last year. None of the money spent on the events is reimbursed to local governments.

The event forced Howard to work all 33 deputies for as long as a 12-hour shift. Five security guards also were called in for traffic detail.

“And it’s not just my cost,” Howard said. He pointed to the funds also expended by the city of Wheeling to pay members of its police department and other city workers.

Brooke County assumed the cost to send 16 deputies to Ohio County for the presidential visit, as did Marshall County, who provided 14 deputies.

“We’ll see this cost again, and it’s going to cost taxpayers,” Howard said.

Also presenting budgets to the commissioners Tuesday night were Prosecutor Scott Smith and Clerk Michael Kelly.

Smith made no major requests, and submitted a budget similar to that he submitted last year. He requests $1,310,811, up from $1,296,295 fiscal year 2019.

Kelly’s budget proposals seeks $692,588, which includes an extra $45,000 to hire an employee to digitize older records.

The commission convenes again at 6 p.m. tonight to hear budget proposals from Assessor Tiffany Hoffman, Circuit Clerk Brenda Miller, West Virginia University Extension program coordinator Lewis Honaker, and Emergency Management Agency Director Lou Vargo.


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