Ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW.com
Dallas County constables are up in arms over a plan to slash their force of deputies and give work to the sheriff.
Dallas County commissioners on Tuesday endorsed a budget-cutting plan that eliminates nearly 100 deputy constable positions.
The move calls for the transferring of civil process-serving duties from constables to the Dallas County sheriff. The sheriff's office is already responsible for serving criminal warrants.
The sheriff's office would rehire 19 of the constable deputies to join its warrant-serving staff.
Precinct 4 Constable Roy Williams, whose office will be left with only justice of the peace bailiff duties, said taxpayers are the losers.
"The workload is tremendous and to think the sheriff can do it in the next 30 days, with 18, 19 individuals, is fool's gold," he said. "She is being set up to fail."
Kathy Carlton of the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas said constables also handle up to 100,000 evictions a year in Dallas County.
"Our concern at this point is that the sheriff's department may not have the resources or be prepared for the onslaught that they're about to have," she said.
But Sheriff Lupe Valdez said she agreed with the move.
"We have a plan in place," she said. "It's already been presented to the commissioners, and they like our plan."
The change is expected to save the county nearly $200,000, but County Judge Clay Jenkins said the savings are not the only advantage.
"I'm concerned about, in an urban county like this, what law enforcement agency is best to go forward and do this -- the service of this process," he said. "It's my theory that the sheriff will do a good job at this and that they'll be able to utilize some of the same facilities and do it in a more cost-effective way, in a way the public will like better."
The change will take effect in the next few months.