OUR VIEW: County officials deserve a lot of credit for making raises happen

Published 2:21 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2023

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Troup County did the right thing Tuesday night, as the commission approved pay raises for first responders across the county. It includes sheriff’s deputies and jailers and also the fire department and marshal’s office too.

And they did it without raising the proposed millage rate this year, an idea that seemed impossible a few weeks ago.

The county was left in a very difficult situation. The city of LaGrange passed a pay raise for officers on June 20, taking starting officer salaries to $60,000. Sheriff James Woodruff met with the commission at the same time as the city meeting, asking if the county would consider raising sheriff deputy pay.

The entire situation left the sheriff, the commission, and county leaders in general, in a tight spot.

The commission had little idea the city was about to vote for a pay raise, at least before it was discussed. 

Also, Woodruff said that he’d already had deputies say they were going to work for the LPD, meaning it was possible that the sheriff’s office would quickly find itself very shorthanded.  

Instead of just saying no, or raising the proposed millage rate (which decreased for the second straight year), County Manager Eric Mosley, Chief Financial Officer Sonya Conroy and others figured out a way to afford the raises without an extra cost on taxpayers.

Beginning in September, all deputies will receive a $6,000 raise and jail staff will receive a $4,500 raise. Troup County deputy marshals, certified firefighters and certified 911 personnel will receive $6,000 raises as well and other administrative staff will receive the normal cost of living increase as previously budgeted. 

Woodruff also deserves credit for going to bat for his employees, and for making a proposal that included giving back positions. Although the county ultimately let him keep those positions, he could’ve asked for the raise without providing any sort of solution. Many do.

While the raises don’t bring the pay to the level of LPD, which now has one of the highest paid law enforcement agencies in the state in starting pay, it does make the salaries more competitive. 

That should stop any mass exodus and stop deputies from driving downtown for a better-paying job.

We’re glad this worked out for all involved, and we thank our first responders for the work they do each and every day in our community. We think most would agree that the raises are worth every penny to keep our community safe.