Fiscal Court Continues Discussion on County Wages
By West Kentucky Star Staff
MCCRACKEN COUNTY - During Monday's Fiscal Court meeting, commissioners revisited a discussion of the need for better pay within the County Clerk's office, the Sheriff's Department, and the jail.

Commissioner Jeff Parker mentioned the need to have a workshop to discuss pay, and Commissioner Bill Bartleman agreed.

He said, "We need to try to set it up face-to-face and get a printout of the salaries of the Sheriff's Office, the Jail, and the Clerk's Office so we can just see in black and white exactly where we are."

According to Bartleman, the lower-paid county employees need to be the priority. However, he said they needed to look at all of the information as a whole.

McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer stressed the need to focus on wages at the Sheriff's Office first, calling the situation "dire."

He said, "I'll just be real frank about it, the Sheriff's Department is very inadequately compensated compared to other law enforcement agencies, as we've discussed. Certainly not to diminish the value of the Clerk's work. But, we are risking losing our Sheriff's Department deputies, as we already have in some instances, to places that pay a higher wage." 

According to Clymer, one of the issues they face is that the county pays to send deputies to a 22-week-long training, only to have other law enforcement agencies offer the deputies more money after the county has paid for training.

"That doesn't apply to the Jail or the Clerk's Office." Clymer continued, "We have, I think, a fairly dire situation in which we are looking at expending large amounts of money to train Sheriff's deputies, and then the possibility of losing them to a higher paying job because other agencies look at our personnel and say, well this person has already been through the training, let's hire them."

Bartleman reiterated the need to increase the salaries to hire people that already have the training, and to keep people from leaving the Sheriff's Office.

"We're losing more to retirement than we are to other agencies." Bartleman said, "We don't have that great exodus, but we do need to take action to prevent that exodus from happening."

McCracken County Clerk Julie Griggs said, "I agree, the Sheriff's Department and jail, they need raises, but so does my department. I get it, my office doesn't perform life or death services, but we do perform services that are very valuable to the county."

Griggs shared similar concerns with the Sheriff's Office. She said that within a few years, many of her staff that have lots of experience will be retiring, and new hires aren't paid enough for them to stay with the Clerk's office for more than a year.

Griggs continued, "I'm very concerned about this because you've got to have people coming in that are going to learn how to put an election together, that are going to learn how to take in legal documents to record and do these front-line jobs. Unless we can do something, especially for the new hires, I'm very concerned."

Clymer said the county can't just raise wages for the new hires, and shared the importance of increasing taxes so that they could pay everyone within the county government fairly.

He said, "I keep hearing from some of you, and people out in the community, saying let's pay everybody more money, but by gosh, don't raise taxes." Clymer continued, "It's frustrating to be in this job trying to get things done, trying to pay deserved people the wages that they want and deserve, but there is so much resistance to creating revenue from which to pay."

Commissioner Eddie Jones concurred that the county needed to generate more revenue so they can provide higher wages.

"It sounds like we're all sitting here saying we want to pay the Sheriff more money, we want to pay the Jail more money, and we want to pay Julie Griggs more money." Jones continued, "I'm not willing to put that on a credit card. We have to actually generate that income. I feel like I've been elected to make the adult decision on finances."

Jones said as of the last budget they were still deficit spending.

A date for the workshop will be announced soon.

You can see the full discussion below.


Published 01:00 AM, Tuesday Sep. 15, 2020
Updated 05:42 PM, Tuesday Sep. 15, 2020



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