Commissioners approve increase in Sheriff’s Department hourly wages

Boone County Commissioners approved a pay increase for hourly workers in the Sheriff’s Department after hearing a presentation from Sheriff Denny Johnson last Friday, Dec. 27.
“We are behind on pay,” said Johnson after delivering the results of an informal survey of pay for dispatcher/jailers and deputies in similar sized counties. “We need to get to a point where we get a larger pool of applicants (for jobs),” he said.
Johnson presented wage information from Antelope, Burt, Cedar, Colfax and Polk counties. Several of the comparison counties had similar health insurance plans to Boone County, which currently pays the full family premium for a Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan with $1,500 deductible.
Boone County’s current pay for starting dispatcher/jailers is $11 to $12 per hour, with increases after certification, and starting deputy pay is $15 to $16 per hour, with a 58 cent increase after certification.
Comparison counties had starting dispatcher/jailer pay of $12 to $14 per hour, with starting deputy pay at $16.50 to $19 per hour.
Antelope County, one example, starts dispatcher/jailers at $12 to $13 per hour, with a $1 increase after six months and another $1 increase after one year. Deputies there make $16.50 per hour to start and $18 per hour after certification.
Boone County also competes for employees with Columbus, which currently starts dispatchers at $17.50 to $23.19 per hour, Johnson said.
After a lengthy discussion, commissioners approved a motion to add $1 per hour to the pay of all hourly Sheriff’s Department employees, starting with the current pay period and continuing through June. The incentive pay for dispatcher/jailers working overnight shifts will also be increased from the present 10 cents per hour up to 15 cents per hour.
These increases will be effective in addition to the longevity pay raises that go into effect in January 2020.
Johnson estimated the increase would add about $15,600 to the Sheriff’s Department budget over six months. The pay scale will be revisited at budget preparation time, with possible additional increases at that time.

Read the full story in the Jan. 1 Albion News print and e editions.