Sheriff's sergeants still await equal pay

Sheriff's sergeants still await equal pay

June 16th, 2011 by Beth Burger in News

Six Hamilton County Sheriff's Office sergeants are still waiting for their pay to be equalized after a civilian board ruled in their favor in January.

The pay of the 16 sergeants at the sheriff's office ranges between $43,867 and $49,840, according to 2009 salary data.

It would cost the sheriff's office approximately $80,000 to equalize the pay for all the sergeants, according to previous reports.

"I have no idea why the sheriff has arrogantly refused to comply with the mandate of the Civil Service Board and equalize the sergeants' pay as he has previously done with other classifications within the department," said Hal North, a defense attorney representing the sergeants.

When reached by phone Wednesday evening, Sheriff Jim Hammond asked for questions on the issue to be submitted in writing. His response was not received by late Wednesday evening.

On March 24, the sheriff's office filed an appeal for the Civil Service Advisory Board decision in Hamilton County Chancery Court.

North filed a motion to dismiss the appeal this week after a brief never was submitted from the sheriff's office, a requirement for the appeal to move forward.

In previous interviews, Dee Hobbs, an attorney representing the sheriff's office, said equalizing the pay could lead to other employees demanding that their pay too should be equalized.

To equalize all positions would cost approximately $1 million, he said.

North said it's upsetting when the sergeants who "risk their lives on a daily basis are ignored."

"Despite the assurance that the sheriff would ask the County Commission to fund the sergeant's pay equalization, as directed by the Civil Service Board almost five months ago, the sheriff now refuses to do so even though he made sure that his top assistants got otherwise unbudgeted raises."

In April, five people in the sheriff's office, including administrators, deputies and a secretary, received merit raises from Hammond.

Patrol officers in the department have not had pay raises since 2008.