You are currently viewing Board of Directors Votes to Give County Staff, Law Enforcement and Dispatchers a Pay Raise |  Recent news

Board of Directors Votes to Give County Staff, Law Enforcement and Dispatchers a Pay Raise | Recent news

Nelson County Sheriff’s Office employees, public safety dispatchers and county staff will receive raises after a recent vote by the Board of Supervisors. Salary adjustments, effective July 1, are being made using savings on vacancies as part of the fiscal year 2023 budget.

The pay improvements, which Acting County Administrator Candy McGarry proposed to the council on July 12, come after the council passed and appropriated a 2023 county budget.

The board voted June 27 to pass a budget without the additional $1 million it previously promised the school division, instead providing a total contribution to schools of $17.1 million, $1.5 million dollars on its education funding for fiscal year 2022.

McGarry had expressed concern to the board ahead of its June 27 vote over the school board’s intention to use its $2.5 million funding boost to raise the division’s minimum wage to $17 an hour. .

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McGarry warned the board of potential “equity issues” between the county and school employees if the school raised its minimum wage and the board using the remainder of the county’s recurring contingency, or remaining recurring revenue, to fund schools. She asked the board how it would handle any cost-of-living adjustments or salary increases for county staff that might arise from an ongoing compensation study.

McGarry proposed that the board establish a minimum wage of $15 for all part-time employees “to reflect the school board” and an annual equivalent of $31,200 for full-time employees. The change affects 20 people whose possible minimum wages range from $9.58 an hour to $30,863 ($14.84 an hour) according to attachments provided by McGarry.

The change is estimated at $88,870 and can be covered by the fiscal 2023 benefits line, which has $295,771 allocated for salary and benefit increases, according to an email from McGarry to the board. monitoring.

She also proposed changes to fill “critical vacancies” among public safety and law enforcement dispatchers. There are currently five vacancies out of 12 public safety dispatch positions. Seven of the county’s 25 law enforcement positions are vacant.

The current pay scale for county employees lists the minimum salary for a public safety dispatcher at $28,017 and the minimum salary for a senior public safety dispatcher at $30,863. McGarry’s proposed salary range showed the board lists the minimum salary for a public safety dispatcher and senior public safety dispatcher at $34,010 and $35,708, respectively.

The change will affect 10 full-time positions and is expected to cost $61,701, which McGarry told the board would be offset by the State Compensation Commission’s contribution to state-funded dispatch positions. The county’s monthly savings for the five current dispatcher vacancies is $17,535, which McGarry said could cover the cost of the adjustment over a three-and-a-half-month period. This change and changes to law enforcement pay scales “can be absorbed into the current fiscal year 2023 budget,” according to McGarry’s email.

To fill vacancies in law enforcement, McGarry proposed that the board establish a minimum annual salary of $46,000 for entry-level assistant and courthouse security positions and eliminate the position of assistant not certified on salary scale. McGarry explained that junior assistants must complete a 12-month training period.

Although classified as “uncertified,” these deputies currently earn a minimum wage of $37,000. The next pay tier is the Entry Level Assistant and Courthouse Security with a minimum salary of $39,114.

McGarry’s proposed salary range combines the minimum courthouse security band of $35,676 with the uncertified deputy band and the “Entry Level Deputy/Courthouse Security” band into a single band with a minimum wage of $46,000 — “in order to attract entry-level law enforcement personnel,” according to McGarry.

The change is estimated at $43,067 and can be covered by savings from the six vacant Sheriff’s Office positions until the office is fully staffed and the cost can be absorbed in the 2023 budget.

All salary adjustments maintain the differences between seniority levels despite increases and McGarry suggested that the resulting “compression problems” – where large increases equalize the salaries of younger employees with older employees – could be resolved when the next compensation study will be completed.

The board voted to approve all of the changes presented by McGarry, in addition to one other recruitment measure. Sheriff David Hill plans to freeze a vacant local deputy position and use the $55,412 in recurring salary funds for one-time signing bonuses to recruit qualified and experienced deputies.

Hill told the board that the problem is statewide and that “we’re all in the same market, we’re all trying to get the most qualified people to serve the citizens and it’s getting harder and harder.” . We cannot lower our standards.

He had provided McGarry with information on area deputies’ salaries for comparison: an uncertified Amherst County deputy’s salary is $45,262 and a Lynchburg deputy’s salary is $50. $000 with a signing bonus of $5,000, according to Hill.

Hill was interviewed on January 27, after his first appearance before the board to ask that vacancies be addressed with salary adjustments. He said 11 of his deputies could leave their current positions in the county for higher starting salaries in nearby communities.

Hill also said it can be difficult to reprimand or hold deputies accountable when salaries in neighboring departments exceed what he can afford; deputy ministers who don’t like him enforcing policy or procedural complaints might turn to another department that pays more.

“28% law enforcement vacancies – that’s a serious number and we need to make sure we meet it,” board chairman Jesse Rutherford said after McGarry’s presentation.

Central District Supervisor Ernie Reed said he favored the adjustments but, “the discussion we just had and the presentation we just had, we could have substituted the word teachers for assistants and support staff”.

He expressed frustration that the board could make direct salary adjustments for county staff but not school employees, and about the timing of the presentation after school funding was approved. He said discussing all employees whose salaries are funded by the county in tandem could help achieve “parity across all divisions and all staff.”

“It’s a problem that is putting schools behind. They have a different route to getting funding than everyone else and that puts them in a position where they have less ability to defend their staff than what we’re dealing with today,” Reed said.

McGarry said she intends to work more closely with the school board in the next budget cycle, “so that we can all kind of be on the same page and we can establish things that don’t will not encourage county staff leaving for school board positions because they get paid a dollar or two more an hour.

“Where we got that million dollars from was a bad idea, I admit. But I also think the money was essential and the money is there. And I would ask you, Candy, to keep going there. think – that it is within our ability to make more money available to schools this year,” said Skip Barton, South District Supervisor.

McGarry paused briefly in his response.

“In this proposal, we are using a portion of our savings from vacancies to cover these increases in our current budget,” McGarry said. “Schools have their own savings on vacancies within the current budget they have that they could choose to do the same. I just put that over there. They have the money to do what they want to do, they just need to make the choices to do those things.

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