Logan County Sheriff’s Office personnel will see bigger paychecks next month after the Board of Commissioners Tuesday approved wage hikes of nearly $370,000 per year.
That’s an increase of roughly 25 percent.
The pay raises were done to try to stay competitive with neighboring law enforcement agencies. Board Chairman Byron Pelton said Morgan County had increased salaries for its sheriff’s office by 19 percent earlier this year to try to stave off closing its jail for lack of personnel. Sterling Police Department also handed out healthy pay raises to try to keep its ranks filled.
Logan County’s Sheriff’s Office has 13 unfilled positions out of a total of 46. The jail is supposed to be staffed with 11 Detention Officer 1s; it has three. Only half of the Deputy
Sheriff 1 positions are filled, and only one of the investigator positions is staffed.
The good news, according to Sheriff Brett Powell, is that three deputies are starting the academy on Sept. 22.
Small and rural law enforcement agencies have traditionally had trouble staying fully staffed, in part because young officers see the small departments as a stepping-stone to the higher-paying jobs along the state’s Front Range. That often means chronic understaffing, sometimes to the point of having to cut services.
Pelton said that during his time in office, the Board of Commissioners has grown the salary portion of the county’s budget by $2.1 million in an effort to recruit and keep high-quality personnel.
The commissioners did not take action on another increase request, but are taking it under advisement.
Representatives of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce asked for increased financial support to help the Chamber recruit new members. Chamber Board President Wade Tyrell told the commissioners the Chamber is running a deficit and needs additional financial support to carry on.
Tyrell asked the commissioners to double their contribution to $20,000 a year. The chairman said that, during Executive Director Glenna Phelps-Aurich’s tenure, the Chamber program has grown significantly. The board also has restructured the membership fee schedule to make it more affordable for businesses in the outlying communities of the county.
Tyrell told the commissioners one thing that would help their financial picture would be to recruit some of the large, multi-community agricultural businesses such as implement dealerships, energy companies and grain storage companies. He said most of those have branches in multiple communities and are reluctant to commit to one community for a Chamber membership.
Phelps-Aurich is due to retire soon and Tyrell said her replacement will focus on bringing some of those ag-oriented businesses into the fold.
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