October 12, 2005
It’s been four years since Richmond County employees have gotten a raise, and that includes the men and women who keep the city safe. Dozens of deputies have already resigned to take better paying jobs, and more may be on the way. News 12 is on your side with a look at what it all means.
“You keep hearing rumors that five or ten more are going to be leaving next week. You just have to wait and see,” said Col. Powell.
Colonel Gary Powell says it doesn’t surprise him to find resignation letters on his desk each week. Ninety-two deputies have left the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office already this year.
“If they don’t give them some type of raise soon, there are going to be a lot of people leaving,” Powell said.
Last week, the vice sergeant resigned as well as two investigators, all for one reason, not enough pay and no increase in sight.
“Lately we’ve lost several good people that have been here upwards of 15 or more years,” Powell said.
Powell says it’s been four years since any deputies have seen a raise. And so they’re hoping when City Administrator Fred Russell releases a budget proposal on Monday, their raise will be included. But Russell remained tight-lipped when we asked him about the likelihood of a raise.
“It would be premature for me to give out any numbers or whatever, but let me assure you that part of my concern is taking care of my employees as best we can,” Russell said.
And as a former deputy himself, Russell says he understands the need for a raise, but he say he can only stretch the available funds so far.
“Are we concerned about losing good people? Sure, we always are. But it’s got to be balanced against what the taxpayer is willing to pay,” Russell said.
And Commissioner Bobby Hankerson says while raises for law enforcement are a priority, folks have to remember all county employees are worthy of a boost in pay.
“You don’t want to have one employee having lunch with another one and one says I got a pay increase and the other says I thought they didn’t have any money,” Hankerson said.
And while some county employees may be hanging around to see the new budget to see if they will get an increase in the next budget, Commissioner Marion Williams says it’s not likely.
“If there were some changes, I think we would have been talking about it now. A new budget is coming around fast and I don’t foresee anything as of yet,” Williams said.
“I just hope they pass it this time to help us out a little bit, because these guys definitely deserve it for the job they do,” Powell said.