County commissioners give top deputies raises over and above 5% hikes in new budget

Less than a month after Alamance County’s commissioners approved a budget that added 5 percent onto the salaries of all its deputies and jailers, they’ve agreed to tack some additional increases onto the wages of the sheriff’s higher ranking subordinates.

During a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, the commissioners unanimously agreed to allow sheriff Terry Johnson to add 4.5 to 22.5 percent to the salaries of 75 people with ranks between sergeant and major. The commissioners signed off on these increases after Johnson assured them that the raises are necessary to bring his subordinates in line with their counterparts in other jurisdictions.

“Y’all have heard me come before you many times to talk about how inadequate our salaries are compared to other law agencies in this county,” the sheriff said before Monday’s vote, “and I assure you that my officers work harder than [those at] any other agencies in this county.”

Aside from the issue of parity, Steve Carter, the vice chairman of Alamance County’s commissioners, attributed the sheriff’s request to some confusion within his office about the potential pay hikes that deputies can receive when they’re promoted.

Johnson elaborated on this point by alleging that he himself was misled by one-time county manager David Cheek about the maximum increase a deputy can get when bumped up in the ranks.

Johnson went on to admit that his proposed raises will cost the county about $550,000 to implement in the current fiscal year.

The sheriff nevertheless pledged to cover this cost with money from lapsed salaries at Alamance County’s jail.

See an editorial page opinion on the issue, “Who needs a budget?”: