Pubdate: Wed, 30 Jun 2004
Source: Sidelines, The (TN Edu)
Copyright: 2004 Middle Tennessee State University
Author: Alex Miller
Bookmark: (Drug Courts)


The Rutherford County Drug Court succeeded in allotting requested
funds to return an employee to full-time work.

Mary Schneider, coordinator for the court, confronted the Budget,
Finance and Investment Committee this week and got her request.

Because of a tight budget, Schneider bumped Angie Hostetler, one of
only two case managers at the Drug Court, from her full-time position
down to a part-time position. On Tuesday, Schneider petitioned the
committee to allow her to use funds from a reserve account to get
Hostetler back to full time.

The committee members worked from two incorrect suppositions. First,
they overestimated the cost of returning Hostetler to full time. They
thought it would cost $14,000. They also incorrectly believed that
Hostetler had always been a part-time employee.

The committee worried about the precedent set by transferring money
from the reserve account.

"Dipping into the fund is a slippery slope," commissioner Will Jordan
said at Tuesday's meeting. The budget committee denied Schneider's

Schneider was down but not out. She came to Wednesday's budget meeting
armed with accurate figures. She explained that it would only cost
$5,000 to return Hostetler to full time - $9,000 less than the
previous estimate - and she reminded the council that she was
returning an employee to full time.

The committee's realization that Hostetler had until recently been
full-time "changed the entire thing," Schneider said. "It sealed it."

The committee unanimously voted to restore Hostetler's

"I felt as a department head I needed to stand up for my staff,"
Schneider said. She might not have to dip into the reserve fund to pay
for her. The Drug Court might be able to use grant money to pay for
Hostetler, but it is too early to know for sure. Either way, Hostetler
got back her job.

The reserve fund is the accumulation of $100 fines assessed to
everyone convicted of driving under the influence. Money from the
account is not automatically earmarked for Drug Court, which is why
Schneider needed the committee's permission for the transfer of funds.

The Drug Court's budget is "tight, real tight this year," Schneider
said. It is $181,000 this year, down from $239,000 last year - a
reduction of $58,000.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin