Sheriff Gary Caruana threatens to sue Winnebago County Board over hiring issues

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana says he's about to reach a breaking point in his feud with county board members.

"It's a dangerous situation in with corrections, in with patrol, in with my detectives. I have to do something. I cannot wait," said Caruana.

Caruana is frustrated with what seems like a never-ending battle between him and the county board.

"They think I'm being defiant. They think we gotta control Caruana, he's outta control. No, they're actually causing the problem, and now I have to deal with it. I have to unwind it."

This all stems back to the county board voting to cut $4.3 million from his department in fiscal year 2018. Caruana believes that number was a gross overestimation.

Now, this feud has brought the sheriff to the point of threatening to file a lawsuit through a special prosecutor.

The lawsuit specifically addresses a records clerk position that the board is not allowing the sheriff to replace without writing an amendment. Even though, the sheriff says, the new hire would save $23,000.

"It would be absurd to vote no on replacing that person. This is all about the sheriff nickle and diming cuts to make it work." said Finance Committee Chairman Aaron Booker.

However, the sheriff says he will not write the amendment. Although he doesn't have an exact date for when he would file the lawsuit, he says it won't take long if things don't change.

"I can't give you a drop dead date. I'll know it when I see it."

Chairman Frank Haney was not available for comment on this issue today. Board member David Boomer did say that he is disappointed that the board gave the sheriff another $1.2 million and now he's coming back for more.