A change in sheriffs and inconsistency in the way Augusta calculates public sector salaries recently made it clear how much, or how little, those in charge make.
No sooner had the ink dried on new Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree’s request for a salary resembling that of predecessor Ronnie Strength, he was joined by new Solicitor-General Kellie Kenner-McIntyre, who also wanted more than the minimum required under state law.
Augusta Commission members soon realized that they had never approved the similar local “supplement” they had been paying Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick for four years.
Roundtree’s supplement, which raised his salary to $126,500, places him among 13 Augusta-Richmond County employees who earn more than $120,000, four of whom are State Court judges.
Of the city’s about 2,300 full-time personnel, 29 earn more than $100,000. Salaries of administrators, engineering and utilities directors and general counsel are in the $130,000 to $137,000 range.
Not to be left out as salaries were being recalculated, Augusta’s two magistrate and civil court judges and probate judge have asked for a higher local supplement, as did the county clerk of court.
The outcry among most rank-and-file city employees, who have been denied a cost-of-living adjustment for several years and in some cases laid off during restructuring and outsourcing of departments, made granting raises dicey, and the commission declined to support the judges’ requested raises last week.
Returning for commission committee approval Monday, however, is a letter of support for the raises to give to Augusta’s legislative delegation, which will have until March 20 to introduce a local bill raising the officials’ salaries. The delegation did the same for certain local elected officials in 2002 and 2006. It can pass the raises without commission approval, but the extra pay comes from the city’s budget.