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Mades concerned deputies' pay increase is not enough

April 16, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

An 8 percent pay increase for the Washington County Sheriff's Department's 67 patrol deputies will bring their salaries more in line with those in other regional jurisdictions, but might not stop some from taking higher-paying jobs elsewhere, Sheriff Charles Mades says.

"So the guys are getting a decent pay raise. Is it enough? It is enough for some; it is not for others," Mades said Thursday.

County Commissioner Paul L. Swartz said he has heard some deputies are not satisfied with the amount of the pay increase, but it is all the county can afford, even if the commissioners raise taxes, Swartz said.

"Personally, I think it as much as we can possibly do, Swartz said Thursday.

Washington County offers the same entry-level salary, with benefits, as the Hancock Police Department: $23,808. The Smithsburg Police Department offers a starting pay of $23,988.

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"We are in bad shape, and I would like to see more (raises)," Swartz said.

The county is adjusting its entry-level position for deputies to bring it more in line with other law enforcement agencies.

Currently, a county deputy hired before attending a law enforcement academy is paid $23,808, Mades said. After attending the academy, which takes about six months, the salary is increased to $25,713.

Effective July 1 the county is eliminating the deputy recruit position and will start new deputies at a salary of $27,770, an 8 percent increase over the current rate, Davis said.

The raise will help the county retain its deputies, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said.

"It does go a long way to making us more competitive, particularly when we look toward Frederick County and Carroll County," Shoop said.

The entry-level salary for deputies in Frederick County is $31,011; in Carroll County it is $25,430, according to information provided by the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

There is some dispute about how much a factor salary is in retaining deputies. While there has been concern expressed about deputies leaving for better pay elsewhere, Shoop said the county has lost only two deputies to other jurisdictions in the last year because of pay.

The County Commissioners voted unanimously to increase the deputy pay rate by 8 percent. As a result, deputies will get an increase 5 percent higher than the 3 percent raise given to all county employees effective July 1.

The raise will boost the pay of the average patrol deputy by about $2,566 a year, Human Resources Director Alan Davis said.

The average deputy salary is now about $32,075, he said.

Mades indicated he will ask for a raise next year for about 90 deputies who staff the detention center.

If deputies leave for pay reasons it could result in the county having to pull DARE officers out of a school, Mades said. The priority is on patrol officers, he said.

One of the people who spoke during Tuesday's meeting was Detective Pete Lazich, who said his annual salary is about $33,500. He asked aloud why he should remain a county employee when he could make $2,500 more in Frederick County.

"At what point am I going to say, 'enough is enough?' " he said.

He said Thursday that comments about the raise should come from Mades.

Told of Mades' remark that some employees may still leave, Lazich said, "I would say that is correct."

He said he did not want to elaborate.

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