The Pulaski County Council met with the commissioners in a joint session Monday night to discuss the salary ordinance, which sparked some discussion regarding a pay increase for the sheriff’s department that had once been on the proposed ordinance, but was stricken from the latest draft.
Sheriff Michael Gayer pointed out that the previous draft had included a $1000 raise across the board for employees of the sheriff’s department, but it was not on the draft being reviewed by the council and commissioners. He said it’s vital to ensure that Pulaski County officers are happy with their jobs, because the county pays a decent amount of money to get them trained to correctly perform their duties. With the cost of uniforms, 15 weeks of training, and equipment, it’s important to retain employees rather than regularly training rookies.
A member of the Salary Committee told Gayer that the committee had reviewed the pay grades of similarly-sized surrounding counties to make sure they had factored in a decent pay for officers. However, Gayer said that he has already seen some employees leave the department to go elsewhere, emphasizing the need to ensure officers are paid enough to stay in the county.
The council and commissioners also questioned Nikki Lowry, director of the EMS department, regarding her employees. Commissioner Larry Brady asked Lowry if she was satisfied with the number of employees in her department; she said she was, but ideally, she would like to see three more part-time people to fill out her roster. She said it would be helpful to cut down on overtime for full-time employees, but hiring additional employees is on her “three-year-plan.”
A motion was made and approved to advertise the salary ordinance as presented, but the commissioners made a motion to readdress the raise for the sheriff’s department, sending the salary ordinance back to the Salary Committee for further discussion.