County Budget Committee Recommends Pay Scale for Sheriff's Department Employees

July 12, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page/WJLE NEWS STORY
Patrick Ray

In an effort to make wages of sheriff's department employees more competitive the budget committee Monday night, July 11 voted to recommend to the county commission that a new four tiered pay scale be established and funded in the new 2011-12 spending plan. The extra cost to the county in implementing the plan comes to around $300,000 in the new budget.

Committee members Jack Barton, Wayne Cantrell, Jerry Scott, John Green, and Marshall Ferrell all voted for the proposal. Larry Summers was absent.

All other full time county employees would get a $1,000 pay raise for the year in the new budget, which equates to about a 50 cent per hour increase, subject to approval of the full county commission. .

As WJLE reported first last week, deputies and detectives at the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department are some of the lowest paid law enforcement officers in the state, according to Sheriff Patrick Ray.

DeKalb has fallen behind counties of similar size and population in recent years in what it pays law enforcement officers and Sheriff Ray's concern is that he will continue to lose more experienced personnel in the months ahead unless the county takes action to catch up.

In a meeting recently with the county budget committee, Sheriff Ray said he has lost five employees since last October because they have found jobs in law enforcement that pay better elsewhere. Sheriff Ray was asked to compile information on pay rates in other counties of similar size to give the committee some idea of where to start. Sheriff Ray provided those comparisons as well as a proposed pay scale for his staff. County Mayor Mike Foster and the budget committee reviewed Sheriff Ray's request, but apparently found it a little excessive. They asked him to get with Foster and come up with a more workable plan.

To address the problem, the budget committee proposes that entry level pay for a first year deputy be increased from the current level of $10.96 per hour to $12.87 per hour or $28,777 per year. The pay would increase each year until the fourth year when a deputy would top out at $15.31 per hour or $34,233 per year.

Pay for a first year detective would increase from the current rate of $12.99 per hour to $16.63 per hour or $34,590 per year. A four year detective would top out on the pay scale at $18.54 per hour or $38,563 per year.

The following is the new salary scale for members of the Sheriff's Department as proposed by the county budget committee, compiled by County Mayor Mike Foster and Sheriff Patrick Ray

Chief Deputy:
$19.30 per hour or $39,573 per year

Detective:
First Year- $16.63 per hour or $34,590 per year
Second Year-$16.82 per hour or $34,985 per year
Third Year- $17.20 per hour or $35,776 per year
Fourth Year- $18.54 per hour or $38,563 per year

Patrol Sergeant:
First Year- $16.63 per hour or $34,590 per year
Second Year-$16.74 per hour or $34,819 per year
Third Year- $16.85 per hour or $35,048 per year
Fourth Year- $17.09 per hour or $35,547 per year

Deputy:
First Year- $12.87 per hour or $28,777 per year
Second Year- $13.23 per hour or $29,582 per year
Third Year- $13.98 per hour or $31,259 per year
Fourth Year- $15.31 per hour or $34,233 per year

Correctional Officers:
First Year- $11.50 per hour or $25,714 per year
Second Year- $11.93 per hour or $26,675 per year
Third Year- $12.36 per hour or $27,636 per year
Fourth Year-$12.79 per hour or $28,598 per year

Cook:
First Year-$9.92 per hour or $20,633 per year
Second Year-$10.03 per hour or $20,862 per year
Third Year-$10.26 per hour or $21,340 per year
Fourth Year-$10.58 per hour or $22,006 per year

The following are the current hourly wages for DeKalb County Sheriff's Department positions:

Detectives (3 positions): $12.99 per hour or $27,024 per year
School Resource Officer (1 position): $10.96 per hour or $24, 514 per year
Deputies (14 positions): $10.96 per hour or $24,514 per year
Sergeant (1 position): $12.51 per hour or $26,023 per year
Correctional Officers(15 positions): $9.92 per hour or $22,174 per year
Correctional Officer/Training Officer (1 position): $22,674 per year
Secretaries/Correctional Officers (4 positions): $10.66 per hour or $22,174 per year
Litter Guard (1 position): $10.66 per hour or $22,174 per year
Cook (1 position) $10.11 per hour or $21,024 per year

The chief deputy is a salaried position and he currently receives $37,523 a year.

Meanwhile, the budget committee Monday night also recommended budgeting $5,000 for WCTE-TV in Cookeville to help defray costs of producing the Fiddlers Jamboree. The money would go specifically to assist the televison station in post-production of the Jamboree for the nationally televised two-hour highlight show.

Tuesday night, the budget committee voted to cut the contribution to the Chamber of Commerce from the requested $20,000 down to $15,000 in the new budget for the year.

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