Clark County deputies, dispatchers get raises

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The Springfield News-Sun digs into important stories about government spending, including recent coverage of the city of Springfield’s budget and New Carlisle’s income tax increase on the May 5 ballot.

Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies, nurses and dispatchers will receive 2 percent raises in each of the next three years.

Clark County commissioners unanimously approved the raises Wednesday as part of new contract agreements with three of the county’s four Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council unions. The contracts are effective from Jan. 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2017.

The pay increases are retroactive to Jan. 1. Clark County officials said they haven’t calculated the total cost of the raises yet.

Clark County commissioners said they were pleased with the contracts.

“It’s very positive for the community … It shows that we can all get along well. We’re watching the taxpayers money while we’re also treating our employees, particularly the ones that are risking their lives with a degree of dignity,” Commissioner John Detrick said.

“It’s very important that we keep qualified law enforcement in the field at the sheriff’s department and this is one of the ways that we can do it with job security,” he said.

Sheriff Gene Kelly said officials began negotiating with the unions in November.

Three of the four unions ratified the contracts about four weeks ago. Negotiations continued on Wednesday with the command officers association.

“I’m glad we’ve got three out of the four done and hopefully the fourth will get resolved tentatively today,” Kelly said.

The FOP unions represent 113 deputies, 16 full-time dispatchers and four full-time nurses, said Doyle Wright, Clark County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy.

There are also 20 command officers, including 16 sergeants and four lieutenants.

The labor agreements include changes to the promotional process for deputies to sergeants and sergeants to lieutenants, Wright said, and how seniority is counted toward promotions.

“We did put a process together and agreed at the table as to how those promotions would take place and what process we were going to use,” Wright said. “We’ve never had that in the past. It’s kind of been something where the sheriff and the unions have sat down and discussed how the promotions were going to take place. This time we put a process together and put it in the contract and we follow that process.”

The previous contracts expired Oct. 31.

Union representatives didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Commissioners have approved 2 percent raises for county employees, as well as union contracts with utilities department and Developmental Disabilities of Clark County employees that also included raises.

Commissioner Rick Lohnes said the 2 percent raises are “pretty much standard with what has gone on with the county.”