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W.Va. deputies complain about pay

April 15, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Several Berkeley County Sheriff's deputies complained to the Berkeley County Commissioners Tuesday about a lack of raises for officers this year.

County employees received pay hikes through a "step-raise" schedule set up by the county.

But former Sheriff Preston Gooden wanted to keep the deputies under a Civil Service pay-raise plan rather than the county's plan, said County Administrator Deborah E. Sheetenhelm.

Deputies said they had not been aware of that decision.

Deputies released figures showing that their salaries are behind those of deputies in nearby Virginia and Maryland.

A Berkeley County deputy with five years experience makes $21,745 a year, but a deputy with the same experience makes between $23,909 and $39,400 in Washington County, Md., according to figures released by the deputies.


Some 911 dispatchers in Berkeley County make more than sergeants in the sheriff's department who have almost twice as many years of service, the deputies said.

Deputies said they are not criticizing dispatchers, "but where's the incentive for us?" asked Cpl. Scott Wilson.

Compounding the problem is the increased violence deputies have been facing, deputies said. Sgt. K.C. Bohrer said local clubs have been "packed to the hilt" on recent weekends, and deputies have been called to respond to numerous fights after the bars close.

Commission President Jim Smith said one of the reasons the deputies did not get raises this year was because the commission did not raise taxes. But Smith praised the deputies for their dedication to their jobs, and said there is a possibility that the deputies can be put on the step-raise schedule.

"I'm not shutting any doors on you," Smith said. "I don't like this spot where I'm the bad guy."

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