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'We were set up for failure:' White Castle PD runs out of money, administrators say former chief is to blame

3 months 2 weeks 3 days ago Tuesday, June 06 2023 Jun 6, 2023 June 06, 2023 7:27 PM June 06, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Mia Monet

WHITE CASTLE- With four months left in the fiscal year, the White Castle Police Department has run out of money and officials are blaming former administration for the over spending. 

According to a letter sent by White Castle Mayor John Morris, the town's fiscal year started on Oct. 1 and there is no money for the police department to continue operating. 

Police Chief Harold Brooks is in a stressful situation. His officers are at risk of losing their jobs. 

"Some of these guys came from another job to come and work for me and that's a problem for me to tell them you no longer have a job," Brooks said.

Brooks took office as police chief in January, three months after the fiscal year started. His predecessor, Mario Brown, was in office for 16 years. 

According to December's budget statement, several items were already overspent. Assistant Chief Louis Hamilton says they were set up. 

"So the approximate time that Chief Brooks and I were sworn in, we were already over-budgeted," Hamilton said. "Numbers don't lie. We were set up for failure. We were either under budget, or he was allowed to sabotage the budget knowing he'd lost the election," Hamilton said. 

As of December, 126% overtime had already been spent of the total budget. The town of White Castle budgeted $4,000 for vehicle maintenance. As of May 1, they've spent $26,300.

"We spent $87,000 of the $73,000 that was available left over. And $37,000 approximately of that was maintenance to vehicles that we inherited. These were operating vehicles that were severely neglected," Hamilton said.
Brooks and Hamilton requested to meet with the accountant and see the budget several times. However, they were not given access to it until after two months in office. 
"Chief Mario Brown was allowed to run through the budget in September, October and November and it was never caught by the accountant," Hamilton said.
According to Mayor Morris, the problem comes from hiring too many new employees, giving officers too much overtime and a broken time clock that could not properly manage personnel clocking into work. But Chief Brooks says he was simply not properly prepared. 
"I wouldn't try to go over my budget on purpose. It's a lot of stuff I did not know and I do apologize to my voters and my constituents for that. If the town hall would've stopped writing checks, then I would've stopped. I would have stopped anyway if you'd told me 'Your budget is in trouble,' I would have stopped," Brooks said. 

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