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Posted on: January 19, 2018

Board of Commissioners to address sheriff’s office’s compensation issues

The Hall County Board of Commissioners will consider a pay increase next week for certified law enforcement within the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

The 2.5 percent pay increase and adjustment of applicable pay ranges for all certified staff up to the rank of captain is a collaborative effort between Hall County Administration and Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch to address critical staffing issues within the department.

“In recent months, vacancies have ranged between 55 and 65 positions on average,” Couch said.  “The vacancy rate and turnover, if unaddressed, will jeopardize our ability to fulfill our constitutional duties and our ability to provide the level of service that Hall County citizens deserve.”

The board is also set to consider a $1 per hour shift differential for staff in certified law enforcement positions that work overnight shifts.

“We want to address the vacancy issue,” Hall County Commission Chairman Richard Higgins said.  “Our hope is that by acknowledging the sacrifice the individuals who work these shifts make, Hall County Sheriff’s officers will be retained to protect our public.”

The compensation adjustments have no impact on the Sheriff’s Office’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget and will be paid for using unspent budgeted salary funds that remain as a result of the vacancies.

“This is something that we’ve been working on for some time now,” Couch said.  “This increase, combined with the County’s 2.5 percent cost of living adjustment for all employees that was implemented last fall, is a step forward in attracting quality applicants to these crucial positions.”

The cost of the pay increases totals approximately $377,000 for the current fiscal year.

“The men and women who serve within Hall County’s public safety agencies are vital to our community’s quality of life,” Hall County Administrator Jock Connell said.  “This compensation adjustment is just one component of ensuring that their impact on the health of our community is never compromised.”

Sheriff Couch will make a brief presentation to the Board of Commissioners at their work session at 3 p.m. Monday.  The board will take final action on the pay increases at their 6 p.m. voting meeting on Thursday.  Both meetings will take place in the Commission Meeting Room on the second floor of the Hall County Government Center, located at 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.

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