Commission approves pay increase for public safety personnel

Published 6:47 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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The Troup County Board of Commissioners has agreed to provide significant pay raises to all certified public safety personnel.

All certified deputies, including deputy marshals, certified firefighters and certified 911 personnel will receive $6,000 raises. Jailers will receive $4,500 raises. All other administrative staff will receive the normal cost of living increase as previously budgeted.

County Manager Eric Mosley said the raises will go into effect in September.

The commissioners approved the raises during their meeting on Tuesday evening, although discussion began in late June when Sheriff James Woodruff requested raises for deputies and jailers. Woodruff asked the commissioners to increase the pay for deputies and jailors to help TCSO compete with other law enforcement agencies, including the LaGrange Police Department, which recently increased starting pay to $60,000 and provided $8,000 pay raises.

At the time, Woodruff suggested giving up four deputy positions that were recently approved to help pay for the raises since he could not find anyone to fill the positions anyway. At the time, TCSO was short 22 deputies and 18 jailers. Mosley said giving up those positions was not necessary, as they are still needed.

Woodruff said before the pay raises were even officially approved, the news of the potential raises helped improve morale and stem attrition.

“Before it was just going to be a waterfall of people leaving. We still have some people leaving and that’s OK. You’re going to have people leave for more money, but your actions have certainly slowed it down,” Woodruff said to the commissioners.

“Hopefully we don’t hurt places like Hogansville or West Point. That’s not our intention, but people look for more money, just like the people leaving from us,” Woodruff said. “We haven’t had any takers yet, but we don’t go out and actively solicit people from smaller communities to hurt them.”

Mosley said the money for the raises will come from unused salaries and benefits from the previous fiscal year.

“We’ve had so many openings in various departments. We’re utilizing that overage to put back in and reinvest in our current employees,” Mosley said. “… Most of our money that’s remaining at the end of the year is not operating expenses — it’s salaries,” Mosley said.

The raises are expected to cost about $2.1 million.

Commission Chairman Patrick Crews explained that the county had about a $770,000 surplus in salary funds last year. That money will be added to projected salary surpluses for the upcoming year and leftover ARPA funds to pay for the raises.