Chapman ‘angry and disappointed’ in salary adjustment approved by BOC

Flat raise of $3,000 per year given to all deputies and jailers

The Walton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to give all jailers and sheriff’s deputies at Walton County Sheriff’s Office an annual pay raise of a flat $3,000. This will go into effect May 1. But not everybody is happy with the outcome following Sheriff Joe Chapman’s battle to get a pay 10 percent pay raise for his deputies, not the least of which is the Sheriff himself. He said he was both angry and disappointed.

“I’m disappointed, very disappointed, mostly with Commissioner (Timmy) Shellnut. He lied to my face tonight,” Chapman said. “He told me he was going to vote for that 10 percent and he lied.”

The motion to adjust the pay for all jailers and sheriff’s deputies by 10 percent failed when Shellnut, along with Commissioners Kirklyn Dixon and Tommy Stringer, voted against the proposal for the 10 percent that Commissioner Mark Banks proposed. Banks’ proposal for 10 percent was supported by Commissioners Lee Bradford and Dr. Jeremy Adams, making for a 3 way tie. Commission Chairman Kevin Little, whose vote would have broken a tie one way or another, recused himself so the motion died. Dixon then proposed the $3,000 flat pay adjustment, which passed unanimously. It effectively raises the base pay for a new recruit from $29,000 to $32,000 a year, a little more than the 10 percent and possibly helping fill some of the 35 vacancies Chapman has said he needs to fill.

But it creates another problem, Chapman said.

“What it does is five or six years from now those new deputies are going to be earning more than their supervisors,” he said. “I’ve had this problem before and almost lost two of my top deputies because of it. I had sergeants making more than lieutenants.”

Chapman said when salary adjustments across the board are then given, those who earned more than 10 percent this time around eventually overtake those who didn’t. The $3,000 flat rate ranges from 10.2 percent for some in the lower ranks to 3.7 percent for the higher ranking deputies.

There was some confusion when Dixon made the proposal with some questioning whether it is a one time $3,000 pay raise and whether those who received it will still receive a pay raise in the new fiscal year when all salaries in the county government are likely to be considered for potential pay raises. Little confirmed that it is a flat $3,000 per year pay adjustment going forward for the deputies, but couldn’t comment on any other possible salary adjustments.

“There is no answer yet for the July budget,” Little said.

Chapman said while he is angry about the outcome, he is happy that they at least got something.

“I’m proud they got something – something is better than nothing,” he said. “Do I think it is enough? No. But at least it is something. The issue for me is I’ve got 35 openings that I need to fill. No other agency has that number of openings.”

Crowd turned up on April 4 as the Walton County Board of commissioners considers a 10 percent pay raise for certified officers with Walton County Sheriff’s Office. Photo credit: Melanie Ann Jackson

Initial story

Update: The Walton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to raise the pay of all jailers and sheriff’s duties employed with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office by #3,000 annually, effective May 1.

A large crowd is on hand at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Monroe as the Walton County Board of Commissioners prepares to vote on a potential 10 percent salary adjustment for all certified officers at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

The meeting opened with Wendra Williams, long-time employee of Walton County 911, addressing the BOC and telling them that all employees, not just employees of the WCSO need pay raises. She said there were many other places to put the money.

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