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Separate pay scale requested for Sheriff's Dept. officers

February 08, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

Washington County Human Resources Director Alan Davis wants the County Commissioners to adopt a separate pay scale for the 59 uniformed officers in the Sheriff's Department patrol division.

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Under the plan, the officers would receive an average pay hike of 6 percent, which would cost the county about $300,000.

The County Commissioners did not act on the request but told Davis to return with a more detailed proposal.

Davis is still fine-tuning the proposed pay scale.

Davis said he probably would seek a pay raise of about 3 percent to 4 percent for the county's other 481 full-time employees at a cost of about $375,000 to $500,000.

The separate pay scale for the officers is needed to help keep deputies from leaving for higher paying jobs elsewhere, Davis said.

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The new formula would factor in length of employment with the county and would work out to an average raise of about 6 percent, he said.

Washington County Sheriff Charles Mades said that in the last year the county has lost three deputies, two of whom took higher paying jobs with Frederick County, Md.

The proposed pay scale would make the county more competitive with Frederick County, and would be less than the Maryland State Police pays, Davis said.

Washington County pays its deputies about $7,000 less than Frederick County pays, Davis said.

Mades said employees have provided him with information about the pay differences between his department and other agencies. To ignore their comments would affect morale, he said.

"When cops grumble you have to listen. It has a domino effect," Mades said.

Commissioners Paul L. Swartz and William J. Wivell said the county shouldn't compare itself to Frederick County but to other comparably sized counties.

But the competition for employees is coming from Frederick County and other counties east of Washington County, Mades replied.

Davis is to return with a more detailed comparison. The changes would be part of the overall county annual budget, which is adopted in the spring.

Davis is asking the County Commissioners to spend $154,654 from the general fund for five new positions, $78,861 for reclassifications and $24,325 for other changes.

The commissioners last year rejected Davis' suggestion that all employees be given an 8 percent raise, opting instead to give them about a 5 percent pay hike.

The County Commissioners voted unanimously in June 1999 to use pension fund money to give the county's 538 full-time employees a one-time bonus ranging from $750 to $1,250 each.

The $574,500 for the bonuses came from a portion of the $1 million designated as the fiscal 1999 grant to the Maryland State Pension and Retirement System program.

Employees who worked fewer than three years received bonuses of $750. Those employed by the county for from three to 10 years received $1,000 bonuses. Those with more than 10 years service received $1,250.

Unlike some public entities, county government does not have automatic annual pay increases, County Administrator Rodney Shoop.

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