Updated Tue, May 7, 2013 4:53 pm
Athens County sheriff's deputies will get 2 percent pay increases each year of a new three-year labor contract approved Tuesday by the county commissioners.
The contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, according to Sheriff Patrick Kelly.
Kelly said the contract includes a lower starting salary for deputies.
According to sheriff's fiscal officer, the $17.14 per hour starting salary for deputies will decrease to $14.69. However, an additional pay step was added, allowing for more frequent pay increases over four years before reaching the top salary of $21.69 per hour. The top pay rate does not change under the new contract.
Kelly said the lower starting salary will initially help the sheriff's office financially. The office will be hiring three new deputies because of upcoming retirements.
The new contract also creates the position of master detective, according to Kelly, who said Detective Jack Taylor will be promoted into the new position. Taylor will get a $2,080 pay increase.
Taylor's old slot in the office's detective bureau will be filled in the future, Kelly said.
Kelly said the new contract also takes the position of fiscal officer out of the bargaining unit, making it a non-union job. Deputies are represented by the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
Also, the officers transporting prisoners will be designated as deputies under the new contract, rather than transportation officers.
Commissioner Chris Chmiel asked if the new contract retains a provision allowing the county to pay for cleaning the home carpet of the sheriff's K-9 officer, who keeps the dog at his home. Last month, the commissioners questioned an $80.07 bill submitted for the cleaning of the carpet of K-9 officer John Morris.
Kelly said the provision was an addendum to the prior contract and will be an addendum to the new contract.
Kelly told The Messenger that the recent cleaning is the first time the provision had been utilized in the more than four years he has been sheriff. He said the timing of the carpet cleaning may have resulted because Morris will be giving up the role of K-9 officer due to his upcoming promotion to lieutenant.
Kelly said the promotion is effective July 31, and will be filling the slot of Lt. Rodney Smith, who is one of the upcoming retirees.