A state appeals court recently upheld Orange County's use of civilian workers in the jail system, denying a demand by the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs for as much as $8 million in damages.
The union, which represents about 2,000 OC deputies, sued the county in 2010, claiming some jail duties had been improperly transferred to newly created civilian Correctional Services Assistants (CSAs).
That move saved the county an estimated $8 million a year in salary and overtime costs–which you'll notice was also the amount the union sought to recover as damages.
The union and the county actually reached an agreement in September 2012 on the ongoing use of CSAs, who are represented by the Orange County Employees Association. The agreement caps on the maximum number of CSAs that can be used in combination with deputies. The non-sworn civilians generally file roles like working guard towers, which frees up deputies to patrol the jail units.
This week, the Fourth District Court of Appeal released its ruling that found the use of CSAs legally kosher, prompting Shawn Nelson, the only current county supervisor who was on the board when the lawsuit was filed five years ago, to say the switch to CSAs was "done for all the right reasons."
In a statement released by the county, Nelson added, "We have a fiduciary duty for the benefit of everyone to get the most out of our public resources that we can."