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Sheriff's office updates county commissioners on raises, bonuses

While the Carroll County Board of Commissioners has avoided a mass exodus of Carroll County sheriff's deputies with its investment of $1.5 million for pay increases over the next three years, deputies may leave in the future if the county does not set aside more money for increases in upcoming years.

The board met with Sheriff's Office staff Thursday to discuss implementation of the salary increases and bonuses for deputies and correctional officers. Danielle Schubert, bureau chief of management services for the Sheriff's Office, said the plan is to make sure all 240 employees get some sort of increase and avoid a "mass exodus."

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The board set aside money in the fiscal year 2015 budget for the increases. The Sheriff's Office has already begun implementing the compensation plan, she said.

Due to financial constraints, each Sheriff's Office employee has been plotted on a pay scale based on their years of service up to 2009. Over the next three years, deputies and correctional officers will receive yearly salary step increases.

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Under the plan, the employees will not receive increases based on time of service from 2009 to 2014. The five years of experience not considered in the salary increases has been "frozen," she said.

Many sheriff's employees, Schubert said, have perceived starting employees on a pay scale based on their years of service in 2009 as a permanent loss of five years of service.

"They have not lost five years of service," Schubert said. "The way [the plan] was implemented was that it was frozen to where you would have been beginning in 2009 because that was the last time the county employees had an increase."

The only way sheriff's employees would lose pay increase for years of service is if the board did not set aside money for increases in the future. The plan, she said, would be to catch everyone's salary up to what they would have been with the additional five years of service included.

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"The idea is to unfreeze the pay scale at some point," Schubert said.

Schubert estimated unfreezing the pay scale and paying sheriff's employees for their actual amount of experience would cost $750,000 a year ongoing.

Commissioner Dave Roush, R-District 3, said that it is his hope the county will be able to lift the freeze, but it will entirely depend on if the county has enough money to pay for the additional experience.

This plan has proven to be a good step in closing the compensation gap for the deputies, Schubert said, but as revenues increase, funds must be directed toward full implementation of the incremental compensation plan.

Bonuses were also included for deputies and correctional officers who either were not working for the county prior to 2009 or received less than a $1,500 salary increase, Schubert said.

Reach staff writer Christian Alexandersen at 410-857-7873 or christian.alexandersen@carrollcountytimes.com.

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