Pulaski Sheriff Looking to Alter Department Wages

Pulaski County CourthouseBudget season is not quite here, but the Pulaski County Sheriff is looking to keep some of his deputies around a bit longer.

During last night’s Pulaski County Council meeting, Sheriff Jeff Richwine explained his solution to what he sees as a longevity problem in the department. By offering incentives for employees who stay onboard with the department, Richwine believes it will raise the quality of their enforcement, but also prevent turnover.

Sheriff Richwine says the dispatchers have served the longest, but problems remain.

“You’ve got a gal sitting in there for 20 years and doing a job for us,” says Richwine. “Tomorrow, a person can walk in there and make the same money.”

The longest jailer has been with the County for seven years. The longest serving deputy has been with the department for 11 years.

Part of the problem, as Richwine sees it, is that there is little difference in pay between supervisors and deputies. By further separating the salaries, it will provide incentives to strive for higher paying positions.

The Sheriff wanted to stay around $40-thousand in increased salary costs, but the proposal currently calls for $60-thousand in increases.

Council President Jay Sullivan says that while certain costs could be offset through underutilized funds, there’s a longer term problem with the changes.

“If we give them the raises, it’s not just this year’s money that we’re going to be giving them,” says Sullivan. “We have to make sure that we can sustain that with some of these other funds. Because it looks like County General [Fund] is going to be hit more and more every year for the next few years.”

The Pulaski County Council will consider the wage changes while preparing their fiscal year 2016 budget.

Work sessions are slated for August to help finalize certain expenditures. Sheriff Richwine said he wanted to explain the changes prior to those meetings to help with the planning process.