County approves deputies' pay hike

April 20, 2006|by TARA REILLY

Washington County Sheriff's Department employees will begin receiving significantly larger paychecks in October as the county tries to keep deputies and detention center officers from leaving their jobs for higher pay elsewhere.

The County Commissioners agreed by consensus Wednesday to approve the pay increases. The raises range from about $2,600 to nearly $20,000 for all uniformed personnel in the patrol, judicial and detention center divisions.

The raises will cost the county $931,787 this fiscal year.

The commissioners will make the raises official when they adopt the county's proposed $178.1 million operating budget later this spring.

The commissioners also agreed by consensus Wednesday to raise the starting salary for deputies from $29,991 to $36,304 and detention center officers from $27,770 to $31,674.

Commissioners John C. Munson expressed concern about the size of the increases, but he ended up supporting the raises.

"When you look at these salary increases in black and white, some of it's frightening," Munson said.


Col. Douglas Mullendore said the Sheriff's Department hasn't had significant pay increases in a while.

Because of the low pay, Mullendore said it is hard to find qualified applicants to fill positions. Finding a replacement takes nearly a year, he said.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell asked whether raising the salaries would cause competition with the Hagerstown Police Department.

County Administrator Rodney Shoop said that wouldn't be the case.

"The real competition is Frederick (Md.)," Shoop said.

Mullendore said a recent salary study authorized by the City of Hagerstown recommended higher pay for city police officers.

Frederick County currently starts its patrol deputies at $39,546 per year, but that is increasing to $40,338 this fiscal year, county officials said.

Jefferson County, W.Va., starts its deputies at $38,000 per year, while entry-level deputies in Berkeley County, W.Va., make $34,000 per year, according to a Washington County report.

The starting salary for entry-level Hagerstown officers is $32,600 before negotiated cost-of-living raises, the report states.

Officers' starting salaries

Current starting salaries for local police departments, according to information provided by Washington County government:

  • Frederick County (Md.) Sheriff's Department, patrol - $39,546

  • Jefferson County (W.Va.) Sheriff's Department - $38,000

  • Berkeley County (W.Va.) Sheriff's Department - $34,000

  • Hagerstown Police Department - $32,600

  • Washington County Sheriff's Department, patrol - $29,991
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