Livingston County Sheriff Steve Cox is facing a shortage of Deputies after this weekend. Click here to listen to KMZU’s Ashley Johnson speak more on the issue with Presiding Commissioner, Eva Danner Horton.

Eva Danner Horton

Earlier in the week, Cox released a statement that said quote, “It is my opinion that unless and until the Livingston County Commission are both willing and financially capable to seriously and adequately address the issues of employee pay and benefits in Livingston County, that our office and other officials in the courthouse will continue to lose employees to the City of Chillicothe and other public and private entities, primarily over base salaries and benefits.”

Missouri’s average annual pay for a Sheriff’s deputy is $46,000, that includes larger and more populated County’s. “We understand that our Sheriff has lost several Deputies just in recent time,” Said Horton “We understand his frustration with the situation. Our Commission all agrees that we would like to be able to pay all of our employees more, but we have limited funds and we have to be able to stretch those to meet all the needs.” Starting pay for a Livingston County Deputy is right at $27,500, but there are a couple of long time employees that make close to Missouri’s average.

Another statement Cox made was quote, “This will impact our ability to provide coverage, we will have times when response time to non-emergency calls for service is long, speed of service and investigations will slow, and there will be times when only one of us is on call.”

With the Sheriff’s office down to 3 deputies, it has some citizens worried about what will come. “We share that concern with the Sheriff,” Horton said “We do feel that the Highway Patrol is going to help out and do what they can until we get back up to full speed. I think we’ll get through it ok and I think our citizens will be taken care of. The Sheriff, I’m sure, will be seeking applications for people to fill these positions.”

With the Commission just making a County match of $18,900 for restorations to the 100 year old courthouse, some people may be wondering why a raise isn’t possible. “Basically it’s two separate issues,” Said Horton “That match came from a totally different fund, a fund that is dedicated to meeting special needs. If we ever toss that into general revenue it’ll just be gone and then we wont have any funding to meet those special needs. The other thing is, $18,000 wouldn’t even been a drop in the bucket to try to pass it around with employees. When we give a raise to the Sheriff’s Deputies we must also give a raise to the rest of our employees. So that would be just a miniscule raise that wouldn’t have any effect anyway. This is about the pay scale we’ve had all these years. I think this is just an unusual situation that at this particular time we have this many gone, but I think we will fill those positions. Considering all of our needs and our income, I feel like we are doing the best we can at the present time, and we’ll do the best we can to improve that situation as we go along.”

 

Press Release:

09/03/2014 – Shortage of Staff at LCSO
Last week I accepted the resignation of 2 deputies in our office and both intend on working here through September 08.  Jacob Peterson has less than 1 year of service while Chris Mueller has several years of law enforcement experience between our office and the Chillicothe Police Department. Both men will soon be working for the Chillicothe Police Department.  

On Sept. 02 I also accepted the resignation of Reserve Deputy Sheriff Ryan Ford as he received orders to cease being a reserve deputy sheriff by his superior(s) at the CPD.

This leaves our office with one new deputy still in field training time as he replaced former full time deputy Ryan Ford who left the LCSO for the more attractive pay and benefit package provided by the City of Chillicothe. We have one deputy and one reserve deputy who are restricted to light duty.  Therefore our office is down to 3 full time deputies and the sheriff working the road and performing all our duties for the public and courts.

This will impact our ability to provide coverage, we will have times when response time to non-emergency calls for service is long, speed of service and investigations will slow, and there will be times when only one of us is on call.

One of our former deputies put it best in that walking across the street they can see around $500 plus dollars per month difference in salary and benefits, have multiple officers on per shift for immediate backup, minimal time on-call and be properly paid for all their overtime worked and holidays.

It is my opinion that unless and until the Livingston County Commission are both willing and financially capable to seriously and adequately address the issues of employee pay and benefits in Livingston County that our office and other officials in the Courthouse will continue to lose employees to the City of Chillicothe and other public and private entities primarily over base salaries and benefits.  This office is known as a training ground for new deputies and our people continue to be recruited by other organizations.  The Commission should at least strive to provide an employment package for all county employees with the idea of parity to the City of Chillicothe.

Currently the annual salary for a Livingston County deputy starts at $26,189 and grant money from Deputy Sheriff Salary Supplemental Fund boost their pay to equal $28,000 per year. (There is no guarantee that grant will be provided to this office each year.)

We must be able to attract and hire quality candidates and then retain those employees!  The value of experience for an employee regardless in the sheriff’s office or any office of the courthouse is not something which can be measured.  The costs of recruiting, hiring and training a deputy sheriff is significant and impacts our budget and ability to provide coverage in Livingston County.

We have several very good deputies who wish to remain here and there are some very good officers in the local area who wish to join our organization but cannot with the primary reason being money in salary and benefits as compared to where they are.  We also have some very good deputies that are looking at other employment options which are attractive due to the salary, hours and benefits being offered.

Even though it saddens us, please join in wishing Chris Mueller and Jacob Peterson the best at their new job.  They are good people and we are thankful for the time they were here with us.

 

Respectfully,

Steve Cox