October 21, 2005
After four years, a pay raise is what they had hoped for and could very well get after City Administrator Fred Russell released next year’s budget proposal including a four percent raise for Richmond County deputies.
“Four percent will be good, it will bring us up a little, but it won’t bring us up to compatible with agencies around here like Aiken County and Columbia County,” said Col. Gary Powell.
And with many leaving to work in those counties, Powell says it will take much more than four percent to keep his deputies around.
“The volume of work we do compared to what they do, and the amount of pay we get compared to what they get, we’re going to have to have at least what they make to keep our guys here,” Powell said.
The starting salary for a deputy in Richmond County is $23,425 and with a pay increase that jumps to $24,390.
“I think they deserve more,” said Sgt. Rob Cross.
Sgt. Cross says deputies leaving due to a lack of pay means the department is now dealing with a lack of experience.
“You’re not going to get deputies to stay here for 25 or 30 years when they can leave for the private sector making more,” Cross said.
Though taxpayers would likely foot the bill for a pay raise by paying higher property taxes, Powell says everyone he’s talked to doesn’t mind.
“They say these guys deserve a raise, they don’t have any problem with their taxes being raised to support the sheriff’s office,” Powell said.
And with so many resigning, it leaves those remaining working overtime, but Col. Powell says that can only go on for so long.
“If they work everyday and their off days, they’re going to be too stressed to come in and I think its going to lead to more sick time and sick call-ins,” Powell said.