FONDA - Montgomery County Sheriff Michael Amato has recommended an hourly pay-rate increase for part-time deputies and correction officers to help keep current employees and attract workers in the future.
"It's hard to keep [part-time] deputies. They have not had pay increases in over four years. The CSEA employees and other union employees have," Amato said.
"It comes to the point when our employees do not want to work, because they are not on the same playing field," he added.
Most members of the Montgomery County Public Safety Committee expressed concern regarding any raises when there is a county negotiation with the union pending.
Amato said he doesn't buy it, saying the county saved money on them for the last five years.
Amato explained that part-time correctional officers and deputies, who are not union members, rely on the sheriff to ask for pay increases.
From 2008 to 2012, the pay for Civil Service Employees Association members increased 12 percent, or 3 percent each year, while part-time deputies and corrections officers have had no raises during that time period.
Currently, the hourly rate for a new hire for a part-time deputy is $12.56, untrained, for a deputy with less than a year's experience, $13.95, and a deputy with more than a year's experience, $15.50.
By comparison, a newly hired part-time dispatcher earns $13.19, and a senior account clerk typist, under a CSEA contract, receives $12.53 per hour.
Amato proposed to increase pay to $14 for an untrained deputy, $15 for a deputy with less than a year's experience and $18 for a deputy with more than a year's experience.
Under Amato's proposal, corrections officers would also receive an hourly pay increase from 75 cents for a new hire to as high as $2.75 for officers with six months or more experience.
The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors tabled a pay increase for part-time deputies and correctional officers during its meeting March 26.
The union and the county have not settled yet and deputies could take the matter to arbitration, Amato said.
"The deputies don't want to work in Montgomery County. After we train them and equip them, some leave for other law-enforcement agencies," he said.
Amato said if the county fails to update current pay rates for part-time deputies and corrections officers, the county will lose them after spending money to train them, and that causes a morale problem for the county.
With the pay increase, the county would end up saving money by retaining part-time deputies and corrections officers, Amato said.