Boone County Wants Pay Raises to Remain Competitive

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COLUMBIA - Boone County plans to conduct a salary study to help keep the Boone County Sheriff's Department and other departments competitive.

Jenna Redel-Reed, Boone County's human resources director, said the county's salaries across the board need to be evaluated in order to stay competitive. The need for a salary study emerged out of a concern that the county is falling behind other markets, such as the City of Columbia and other nearby cities and counties.

"If that sort of local comparison isn't enough, you may need to look at other entities that have a commonality with yours," Redel-Reed said. "For example, it would be possible for us to look at other counties in other states that are home to the flagship universities, have similar unemployment rates, have similar population sizes."

Boone County last conducted a comprehensive salary study back in 2004. The study, conducted by Public Sector Personnel Consultants, led to changes for the next fiscal year's budget.

In particular, the Boone County Sheriff's Department has recently lost seven sheriff's deputies and roughly a dozen correctional officers. Chief Deputy Tom Reddin said there should be roughly 56 employees working at the jail.

"When you're down about a dozen, that's a quarter of your staff to run the jail facility," Reddin said. "That's a really significant hit. It creates a lot of overtime and working on days that would normally be off."

Reddin said he estimated his department would need to get in line with other competing markets that offer starting salaries around the mid $40,000 range.

The minimum pay for a Boone County sheriff's deputy is $29,428. A Columbia police officer's minimum salary is $40,784.

"I've heard lots of stories about losing good, qualified employees for jobs that pay just two-thousand dollars more somewhere else," Redel-Reed said.

Redel-Reed said the county has not set a start date for its salary study yet. She said the study's results will be seen in the way Boone County allocates its funding for 2015.