relying on salary study for deputies
By BEVERLY BARELA
July 13, 2017
a big, long question that will take at least a couple months,
maybe more, to answer:
Will a countywide compensation and classification study,
by a public sector human resources consulting firm, shed
light on what needs to be done by the Board of Supervisors
to address Merced County’s inability to retain deputy
During Tuesday’s board meeting, as was the case during
the June 20 meeting, local law enforcement individuals and
other citizens came forward to voice their opinions on the
ongoing issue of deputies leaving their jobs, resulting
in serious public safety concerns, and allegations that
low pay is the reason.
One Merced County deputy sheriff described the problem,
noting that two newly hired deputies recently quit after
receiving their first paycheck.
"The state continues to release inmates, there is an
unsustainable staff shortage, and the situation will not
improve until pay and benefits are comparable to surrounding
areas,” the deputy said.
Sheriff Vern Warnke, who has begged leaders for salary increases
for the past three years in a row, did not mince words during
an interview with the Times.
"I’m down 16 bodies,” he said. “I
will add eight, but they’re not qualified to be on
the streets yet. I’ve got three in the Academy. That
makes 27 positions filled, but not cops. I have 36, but
I need 48."
Commenting that the supervisors have the authority to allocate
more funds for deputy sheriff salaries, he said: “The
ball is in their court."
Board Chairman Daron McDaniel tried to ease concerns by
saying the situation was under study.
"It’s a constant conversation,” he said.
“We want to be fair. We want to do the right thing.
We’re doing a full comprehensive study."
Mike North, a county administrative analyst, told the Times
that Koff & Associates, headquartered in Berkeley, has
been hired to perform a classification and compensation
study that will look at a number of relevant areas to determine
how the county stacks up in terms of compensation, countywide.
"We’re expecting a draft back in the September
or October time frame,” he said, “and we’re
trying to fast track the deputy sheriff component. I can’t
tell you an exact date. … We’re looking at this
both internally and externally, both how our employees are
compensated and classified (are they working within the
tasks they are assigned), as well as how we compare to some
of our neighboring counties. The counties we are looking
at are Fresno, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin, Madera, Stanislaus
and Tulare. … We have a classification and compensation
structure in the county that addresses job description and
salary ranges. … Positions performing similar work
with the same level of complexity, responsibility, abilities,
knowledge, and skills should be classified together and
then, of course, the goal is to determine if we are providing
salaries commensurate with assigned duties.”