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Sheriff workers to get pay hike

Tony Perry official picture.jpg

Camden County Sheriff Tony Perry

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By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CAMDEN — Camden Sheriff’s Office employees will soon find a few more dollars in their paychecks thanks to an effort by Sheriff Tony Perry to improve their salaries.

At last week’s Camden Board of Commissioners meeting, Perry asked and received approval to eliminate a deputy’s position that has been vacant for about five months. Perry made the request so that he could redistribute approximately $32,000 of starting pay already budgeted for the vacant position among his office’s current employees.

Doing so will bring their salaries more in line with their colleagues in surrounding law enforcement agencies. It would also help to improve retention, he said.

"I am proposing to eliminate a currently funded deputy position to adjust the salaries for the current patrol division deputies," Perry said in his written request to commissioners. "We have lost five deputies leaving for higher salaries to other agencies in the last year. We also have not been able to attract quality candidates to work here."

The board approved Perry's request 4-0. Commission Chairman Clayton Riggs was unable to attend the meeting because he was fulfilling a military reserve obligation.

Perry will use the money from the vacant position to increase the pay of 10 of his employees. The amount of each employee's raise was based on his or her rank and time of service with the sheriff's office.

For example, the highest increase in pay is $5,000, awarded to a supervising sergeant who has been with the Camden Sheriff's Office for nine years. The raise will increase the sergeant's salary to $47,537. That's according to salary figures Perry provided to the board.

In another example, a deputy with just two months on the force, who is currently earning the lowest salary, will get a raise of $2,100. That boosts the deputy’s pay to $37,039. While that's still the lowest deputy salary in the Camden department, it's at least more competitive with the pay of surrounding agencies, Perry said.

Perry provided a written breakdown of the starting salaries for patrol officers in Camden and in surrounding counties. Those salaries are as follows:

• Camden Sheriff: $33,275

• Pasquotank Sheriff: $33,492

• Elizabeth City Police: $37,000

• Currituck Sheriff: $37,344

• Kitty Hawk Police: $37,733

• Kill Devil Hills Police: $42,524.

The starting salaries for supervisor and patrol sergeant positions are as follows:

• Camden Sheriff: $38,520

• Pasquotank Sheriff: $37,444

• Currituck Sheriff: $47,009

• Elizabeth City Police: $45,000.

Perry explained the patrol shift is divided into two platoons, with five deputies and one patrol sergeant in each. Deputies work 12 hour rotations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., while the platoon sergeants work noon-to-midnight shifts, he said. They work two days on and two days off, with alternating weekend shifts, for a total of about 15 work days a month.

Also getting a raise because of commissioners’ decision is the Camden Sheriff’s Office’s administrative assistant, who has been with the department for three years. That employee will get a $3,000 boost, increasing their salary to $33,182.

"This will be effective starting the next pay period," Perry said, referring to how soon his employees will see the raises.

Perry assured commissioners the county would not suffer any negative effects because of their decision to cut the position.

"I feel confident eliminating this one position wouldn't affect us," Perry said.

To support that claim Perry also provided commissioners with call volume figures for his department for the last five years.

For example, in 2016 his deputies responded to 11,755 calls. Figures for the other years include 14,326 calls in 2015; 9,876 in 2014; 12,335 in 2013 and 11,853 in 2012.

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