County officials rejected a request by Sheriff Ken Fries to increase his chief deputy’s salary and make that increase retroactive to last summer.
Fries asked County Council members Thursday to increase Chief Deputy Dave Gladieux’s salary from $92,759 to 93,919, effective July 1, 2011, and include another raise of $1,988 as of July 1 this year.
In June, the council granted a retroactive salary increase for Fries as well as another pay hike for the coming year, following an Indiana Supreme Court’s decision that mandated a pay increase that impacted the sheriff’s pay.
Fries contended the county has been paying the chief deputy 71 percent of the sheriff’s salary since January 2009, based on recommendations from the human resources department. Fries currently earns $135,080 annually.
The council voted 4-2 against the sheriff’s request.
The sheriff’s department has the largest budget in the county at $22 million, and the financial part of that job is growing in terms of responsibilities and importance, said Councilman Tom Harris, R-2nd.
Carefully scrutinizing that department’s budget is critical, Harris said before voting in favor of the increase.
Councilman Darren Vogt, R-3rd, agreed with Harris, but others voted against the increase, including Bob Armstrong, R-at large; Larry Brown, R-4th; Roy Buskirk, R-at large; and Kevin Howell, R-1st. Paul Moss, R-at large, did not arrive at the meeting until later.
Fries said he was surprised at the decision.
I’m disappointed in some of the things I’ve seen come from this council, Fries said.
Fries pointed out that he took a $6,600 pay cut in 2011 because of a new state law that says a sheriff’s salary cannot rise above that of the county prosecutor. County Council members agreed at that time to also cut the chief deputy’s salary.
So the council went by that rule when they wanted to cut the chief deputy’s salary but won’t follow it when it comes to raising the salary, Fries said.
In order to receive the percentage pay in 2009, Gladieux gave up his longevity pay – 3 percent of his salary every three years, Fries said.
The County Council is responsible for setting the salaries and wages for employees with a few exceptions, Klutz said. One exception is the state law on the comparative salaries of the sheriff and county prosecutor, according to Klutz.
But the chief deputy’s salary is not affected by that same law, so it is up to the council, Klutz said.
Fries said he will soon return to the council and ask them to reinstate Gladieux’s longevity pay.