Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree met about 70 school crossing guards – his only part-time employees – for the first time Friday.
Roundtree, who took office in January, had agreed to meet with the guards after they voiced concerns about new reductions being made to their paid holidays, but he stood firm on the decision.
The guards won’t see their wage of $19 an hour decrease, but they will no longer be paid for days they don’t work, he said.
Lead guard Susan Smith said she wasn’t surprised that nearly every guard turned out at the meeting. Most submitted reports of how much they’ll lose, including unemployment benefits, if the cuts are permanent, she said.
One guard tossed a coin toward the sheriff, saying it was his last. Another praised Smith for her leadership and “putting her job on the line” for the guards.
Others complained about the sheriff’s corporal assigned to supervise them. Roundtree said to take their concerns about the supervisor to Chief Deputy Pat Clayton.
Roundtree said the pay issues could be resolved if the Richmond County Board of Education increased its reimbursement for the services or took over the crossing guard force altogether.