Richmond County deputies to get overtime pay for holiday work

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The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office will start paying overtime for holiday work this year to reduce the number of compensatory days off.



Through 2011, sheriff’s employees received a compensatory day off for every holiday worked. That can become a problem, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said, because at the end of the year, some people might have so much comp time built up that they have to hold it over to the next year.

“It’s getting tougher to give that much time back and have them off the street,” he said.

In an attempt to alleviate some of the comp time, Richmond County will begin paying sheriff’s employees time-and-a-half for holidays worked. As usual, if they are scheduled off for the holiday, they will receive normal pay.

City Administrator Fred Russell says he agrees with the sheriff’s decision.

“With the staffing levels the way they are because of budgets,” Russell said, “it makes sense to me.”

The new policy will relieve the comp time quotas year-round, Strength said. Out of 750 employees, there are about 450 working each holiday, which adds up to a large amount of time owed. Strength says the plan is a form of “controlled overtime.”

“It was too much of a strain to give the time back,” the sheriff said. “We think it’s the right thing to do.”

Normal overtime will work the same as always. Normally, the comp time is recouped within the same pay cycle so the checks are not affected. Holidays are the only aspect that will change.

“We are optimistic this will be how we work going forward,” Strength said.

The departments surrounding Richmond County have different approaches to holiday pay.

In Columbia County, officers who work holidays are paid double time. For all other overtime, every effort is made to give the time back within the same pay period.

“We do everything we can to minimize the overtime,” Capt. Steve Morris said.

In Aiken County, there is a small fund for overtime that gets used only on rare occasions when there is an event that requires extra hours.

In some cases, such as the Graniteville train wreck in 2005, the overtime gets paid to the officers, but is then reimbursed to the department.

In that case, the overtime was paid by Norfolk Southern.

“Very rarely do deputies see any overtime in their checks,” sheriff’s Capt. Troy Elwell said.

Most of the time, including holidays, the officers receive comp time they can cash in later.

In all three counties, special duties do not count as part of deputies’ regular hours, so even if they end up working 40 regular hours and 20 extra hours on specials, it does not count as 60 total hours. The specials are paid by whoever is hiring the deputy.

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bdouglas
5398
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bdouglas 01/04/12 - 12:42 pm
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So the people who don't work

So the people who don't work get paid for the day off, while the people who do have to work only get half a day's pay more than the people who don't work? That doesn't seem right to me. Holidays at most places I've ever worked where I wasn't on salary are double time.

onecatfish
5
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onecatfish 01/04/12 - 02:02 pm
0
0
If you are to work 8-4 it
Unpublished

If you are to work 8-4 it comes to time and a half. If you work after your 8 hours then you get double time. So just for working you 8-4 shift, you get 20 hours pay. The 8 hours you work plus you time and a half that comes to 12 hours pay. so 8 plus 12 = 20 hrs.

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 01/04/12 - 02:40 pm
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bdouglas, although I

bdouglas, although I understand and even agree this is a major step in the right direction for the RCSO. So often, deputies lose their "comp time" because they have so much built up they can't even use it and therefore lose it - in which case they should be paid that overtime.

Either way, I am glad the Sheriff has made this decision for his deputies as it is the right thing to do. I am also happy that the county understands and agrees with the necessity of it. The policies for Columbia County sound far more employee driven but this is a major step for Richmond County to take in the right direction.

TrulyWorried
15400
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TrulyWorried 01/04/12 - 03:06 pm
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Maybe they ought to look -

Maybe they ought to look - there might be some more millions they did not know they had - we certainly need to pay our deputies the pay they deserve for their excellent work and dedication -

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 01/04/12 - 06:08 pm
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Agreed Trulyworried. Some of
Unpublished

Agreed Trulyworried. Some of those millions could go to our officers having better pay. Seems everyone is so concerned about building Augusta up yet it does no good when it is becoming more crime ridden and they have no budget to hire more officers nor even pay the ones we do have the money they earn and deserve. Priorities in RC are backwards to say the least!!! Lazy people who refuse to work and live off the dole their whole life and do nothing more than create more dependants are actually paid more than our hardworking officers who put their lives on the line daily. Both need to be changed!!! NOW!

Riverman1
87155
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Riverman1 01/05/12 - 06:12 am
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If the comp time program is

If the comp time program is run effectively, it's a great money saver for the county. I've got no problem paying people if they worked and didn't get comp time, but the county is short cash that can be allocated to county employees. It seems to me, the solution is to run the comp time program as it is should be run.

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 01/05/12 - 11:25 pm
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Riverman1, what you are

Riverman1, what you are saying may be good on paper and I also have no problem (to some extent) with comp time at time and a half.

However, Richmond County cannot do like Columbia County and ensure that the comp time is used within the same pay period. Heck, in many cases, they can't even give it back to the deputies in the same quarter. Even deputies who request the time off are often denied due to a lack of manpower.

Richmond County has lost over 40 sworn positions in the past couple of years which does not include non-sworn positions and the currently occurring decrease of jail personnel. Add that to the fact that they currently have over 20 approved positions that are going un-filled due to lack of qualified applicants. Add in the furlough days for all Sheriff's Office Personnel and you basically take away another 20 deputies for the year. This places our deputies and the community at an unnecessary risk and the Sheriff simply can't afford to give any more officers any time off, especialy at time and a half. He is doing everything possible to request more personnel and keep deputies on their beats with no help from the commission.

Columbia County pays their deputies more, they pay even more if you have college and if not, they will then pay for you to get a college degree. Columbia County provides for pay increases for training and years of experience. Columbia County has a good retirement and benefits program and does not have any furlough days. Columbia County has given raises over the past few years and continues (even again this year) to add to their ranks as needed in order to meet or exceed national standards. All of this is done and approved by the Columbia County Commissioners.

In Richmond County, even though Sheriff Strength has voiced his concerns and displeasure the differences are very obvious. Richmond County Deputies are paid less, they are not given a raise for college or encouraged in any way to go to college much less paid anything for attending college or towards their college. There is no pay increase for training or years of experience when you come to work in Richmond County. Richmond County Deputies have a deplorable retirement program, a major lack of benefits and on top of all of that have been hit with major pay decreases the past few years in the form of furlough days. Richmond County deputies have not seen raises in quite some time and in fact are bringing home far less due to the rise in insurance costs along with the furlough days. The RCSO has continued to decrease in size although manpower is desperately needed - mainly due to the way the commission treats the Sheriff's Budget. Even as we write, Richmond County Commissioners are again decreasing the Sheriff's Budget tremendously.

Our men and women who serve deserve a fair and just salary, comparable to other agencies similar in size. They deserve (and we as citizens deserve) to have the necessary manpower on the streets on a daily basis. A Richmond County Deputy will on average take twice the call volume and be placed in far more hazardous situations each shift than a Columbia County Deputy and yet the pay, benefits, training opportunities, etc. are all far less.

Our commission should be ashamed of their selves for how they treat our Public Safety Personnel and for how they determine their priorities for our county.

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 01/05/12 - 03:39 pm
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Amen to that Asitis,
Unpublished

Amen to that Asitis, especially "Our commission should be ashamed of their selves for how they treat our Public Safety Personnel and for how they determine their priorities for our county." The only thing is you have to have to care and have a little common sense to be ashamed......

Riverman1
87155
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Riverman1 01/05/12 - 11:35 pm
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AsItIsnAug, you make some

AsItIsnAug, you make some good points. Oh, I have no doubt that RCSO officers have the toughest job in the CSRA. They are in the jaws of the monster all the time.

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 01/07/12 - 05:56 am
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Riverman1, thanks. And, yes,

Riverman1, thanks. And, yes, they do.

I just feel that those who work so hard to protect us daily deserve fair pay which in my opinion means the same pay/benefits for other similar agencies within the southeast. Also, if they are asked or have to work overtime, they should be properly compensated for it.

I am just glad the Sheriff pushed for this on behalf of his fine men/women and the county obliged him.

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