Budget Battle Between Supervisors and District Attorney 

Budget Battle Between Supervisors and District Attorney 


A budget battle is building between two Riverside County departments even though a budget was approved Tuesday.

Still, two departments are responding to each other with dueling press releases.

The war of words is being waged by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, and the District Attorney Mike Hestrin.

On Tuesday, a county budget passed.
The district attorney says he’ll have to make cuts.
The county says he’s not looking hard enough for solutions.

"19 new hires…actually supervisor that’s just not accurate what you’re saying," said Supervisor John Tavaglione.

"And I want to comment about that, the information, this is one of the problems we have in this county, is a lack of communication," said DA Hestrin.

One message came across loud and clear during the budget meeting in Riverside: frustration.

"This is the worst budget process I’ve ever seen in my entire time here. Why? Because public safety isn’t getting what they’ve gotten in the past. We’re not opening the book to public safety, and that’s unfortunate. But dammit we’ve been really good to public safety for 22 years," said Tavaglione.

The county approved a 5.4 billion dollar budget in spending, which is more than they’re bringing in.

The district attorney’s 2016-2017 budget is 129 million, and Mike Hestrin says that’s not enough.

"From 2011 to today the office has been cut 27% already," said Hestrin.

The elected officials disagreed on numbers of hires.
"We don’t pick up the phone and call each other," said Hestrin.
"It could be because when we ask for that kind of data like Supervisor Jeffries," said Supervisor John Benoit.
Hestrin interjected, "No one asked us."
Benoit finished, "…as Supervisor Jeffries asked and it wasn’t provided for out last budget session."

The budget was approved, and the DA announced overtime search warrant cuts.

The county responded with a press release.
"It is not an unexpected move from a first-term DA who hasn’t managed through financial adversity before and had to look for efficiencies. I hope he will take a breath, and that this challenge helps him become a strong manager," said Benoit. 

Hestrin answered back, "Politicizing the funding crisis in public safety and hurling insults during public meetings and in county news releases does not serve what should be our mutual goal to find savings while protecting public safety. " 

Though the 2016-2017 budget is approved, it will go back to the board in September for final adoption.