King County Executive Dow Constantine is laying off sheriff’s deputies and county prosecutors, while using County funds to hire the private public relations firm he used in his campaign.
The King County sheriff reports Constantine’s budget cuts eliminated all property-crime investigation teams, closed neighborhood police stations and reduced other crime-fighting services.
The County Prosecutor says Constantine’s cuts resulted in a reduction of 16 deputy prosecutors and eight support staff, and that his office is less able to enforce the law against people who commit home burglary, car theft and property crimes against seniors. (Keith Ervin, The Seattle Times, 11-12-10 .)
While Constantine cuts back on public safety, his Department of Executive Services quietly awarded $100,000 in public funds to buy a marketing plan that includes “development of pro-active strategic communications plan” and “development of the legislative agenda at county, state, and federal levels.”
The contract number is T03314T and it extends to December 31, 2011. The firm receiving the payment is the same one Constantine used in his most recent election campaign. The same firm received $20,000 in County funds last year (contract number T07178T).
Sometimes government contracts are used to keep campaign consultants busy between elections. Constantine is rumored to be considering a run for governor in 2012. People are losing their jobs, Constantine has cut over 300 positions, but he has found the funding to keep his campaign structure in place. In the meantime, it looks like the people of King County will just have to put up with a lower level of public safety.