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Augusta Commission to consider salary supplement for sheriff, solicitor

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 2:50 PM
Last updated Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 1:10 AM
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Tasked with deciding whether to supplement Richmond County’s new sheriff and state court solicitor above and beyond their minimum salaries, the Augusta Commission heads into tricky but not uncharted waters.

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Sheriff Richard Roundtree's salary would increase from $110,000 to $127,000 if a plan presented to the Augusta Commission behind closed doors at a Jan. 27 legal meeting is approved.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Sheriff Richard Roundtree's salary would increase from $110,000 to $127,000 if a plan presented to the Augusta Commission behind closed doors at a Jan. 27 legal meeting is approved.

Several city officials confirmed that Sheriff Richard Roundtree and Solicitor General Kellie Kenner-McIntyre requested local salary supplements of 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively, less than a month into each elected official’s first term.

The increases, presented to commissioners behind closed doors at a Jan. 27 legal meeting, would bring Roundtree’s salary from $110,000 to $127,000, slightly more than that of his predecessor Ronnie Strength, a Richmond County law officer of nearly 40 years who served three terms.

Kenner-McIntyre’s pay would increase from $97,000, the same amount paid her predecessor Charles Evans, to $106,700.

The salaries of local elected officials are determined by a complicated state formula that takes into account population, longevity, state-mandated cost-of-living increases, additional duties, local supplements and local legislation.

The minimum salary for a sheriff in a county such as Richmond whose population is between 200,000 and 249,000 is $86,592.30, according to the 2013 salary guide published by Association County Commissioners of Georgia. That figure is increased by $3,883.08 if a sheriff serves the courts, which Roundtree does, then adjusted by state-mandated cost-of-living adjustments of 2.89 percent and 3 percent, regardless of when the sheriff took office. For re-elected sheriffs, there’s also a 5 percent pay hike each time he or she wins another term.

The state total for Richmond County, $95,892.14, however, is superseded by local legislation. House Bill 831, sponsored in 2005 by Reps. Pete Warren, Henry Howard and Quincy Murphy, set the minimum salary of the Richmond County sheriff at $110,000.

House Bill 831 also set the Richmond County solicitor’s salary at $97,000.

Sheriff salaries vary widely among the state’s largest counties, from $102,095 paid to the sheriff of Forsyth County, population 181,840, to $146,239 paid to the sheriff of Fulton County, which has nearly 1 million residents, according to a 2012 salary survey from Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

News of the requests upset some employees, who have not been granted a raise this year by the commission, and from open government activists, who questioned why the requests were made behind closed doors.

“I’ve already had 10 to 12 deputies calling me raising hell about it,” Commissioner Joe Jackson said.

City General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie placed the Jan. 27 discussion behind closed doors about the request firmly within the “deliberating compensation of a public officer” exception to the Georgia Open Records Act. The law does not require the conversations to be private. Neither Roundtree nor Kenner-McIntyre returned calls requesting comment.

City Administrator Fred Russell said the commission likely won’t deliberate the raises in public but would vote on them publicly, possibly at a called legal meeting Monday.

Augusta’s administrator is authorized to award employee raises of 15 percent or less without commission approval, but not for elected officials, MacKenzie said.

While both Roundtree and Kenner-McIntyre are new to their jobs, Russell said he will recommend the commission award the requested increases.

“They fit right in within the scope of what they do,” Russell said. “You can also make the argument (for the sheriff’s salary) that that fits into the general framework for supervising 800 employees.”

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Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 02/10/13 - 02:02 am
5
1
I do think asking for a raise

I do think asking for a raise after less than a month on the job is a bit much.

sand gnat
686
Points
sand gnat 02/10/13 - 02:41 am
6
1
The primay reason

The primary reason for giving a raise is to reward proven past performace. I would suggest those that make these decisions do just that. He does have a performance record with the RCSD that should be used as a basis to determine what, if any supplement he is given, above the state recommended level. Why on earth would they want to pay anybody more than what the state recommends. Its not like he did not know what his pay would be. Thirty days? Keep an eye on your commissioners. Same holds true for the solicitor.

Riverman1
94433
Points
Riverman1 02/10/13 - 06:30 am
2
1
Constitutionally Elected Position

I am generally opposed to raises for any government employees until the economy straightens out. I’m also opposed to local and state retirement systems that pay retirees such a huge percentage of their previous salaries. Having prefaced with that, I’m going to defend the Roundtree raise. Remember I was also a Sanders supporter and he was going to serve for NOTHING.

The Sheriff is a constitutionally elected office holder. He is not like the Fire Chief or some other department head in that respect. The electorate chooses him, no matter whether he has worked for the RCSO or not because he is the best qualified person for the job in their minds. Same as with governor, State Superintendent of Education or any other constitutionally elected position. They start in office new with every general election is my view. Being elected or reelected is different than working many years in a regular government job.

Ronnie Strength’s immediate predecessor, Charlie Webster, came into office from outside the RCSO and I’m pretty sure he was given raises over the years. It would be interesting to know when his first raise came. Don’t even get me started about mega campaign contributions.

Riverman1
94433
Points
Riverman1 02/10/13 - 06:31 am
2
5
Let's Compare Counties

So here we are with the largest police force in the area with over 800 employees and one of the toughest policing jobs anywhere. The demographics have not gotten any easier over the past few years. It’s a tough law enforcement job being Sheriff of Richmond County. It’s one of the toughest jobs in the state.

Forsyth County, with a population of 181,840, was mentioned and it was noted their Sheriff only makes $102,095. However understand their OTHER demographics. 95.05% white with a median household income near $84,872. It is the wealthiest county in the state of Georgia, and currently is the 30th wealthiest county in the nation. Without looking further, I know their crime rate is low from the demographics.

Which brings us to Columbia County. It intends to give their Sheriff a raise to $135,760 and although everyone is happy with the crime rate in Col. Cty, it’s most certainly due to the nice demographics and economics of the area. If Clay Whittle deserves $135,760 with that easy job, Sheriff Richard Roundtree deserves $127,000 with THAT job is the bottom line.

Truth Matters
8097
Points
Truth Matters 02/10/13 - 07:04 am
3
1
Richmond county

To Potential residents:
If you are reading these posts trying to get a sense of the kind of people who live here, know that the most vocal and mean spirited often speak first and loudest. I hope you will still consider our town as there are far more people of reason and goodwill living here__of many different ethic backgrounds__than are represented on these pages. We do not all call ourselves Christians or write long posts about the love of Jesus then turn around and call people idiots.

Most of use know how to disagree without being disagreeable. Again, those won't necessarily be the ones posting comments here.

Hope to see you soon.

seenitB4
98777
Points
seenitB4 02/10/13 - 07:26 am
3
5
Pull those claws back in why doncha...

The man deserves the raise....he will be a busy guy...like a cat covering up the mess everyday....
Get over yourselves ..he won the dang vote....as much as I wanted Freddie I'm getting over it......Richmond county will throw him a curve ball everyday.....the man will be lucky to get a nights sleep.......watch his pic...he will look 20 years older in 4 years....imho.

justputtin
1527
Points
justputtin 02/10/13 - 07:45 am
4
1
Wow

One word comes to mind. Entitlement. What the heck?

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 02/10/13 - 07:53 am
5
3
WHAT!

These two have barely scrapped the surface of their newly appointed jobs (two months worth) and they want a RAISE!!!! Are you kidding me?? I have been teaching for 16 years and my salary went DOWN this year!! I have not had a raise in 6 years and they think they are owed one for only a few weeks of work. Strength had time in which is why he made the salary he was earning. People today are living pay check to pay check thanks to our government leaders spending us further in to debt and now these two want to spiral Richmond county further downward as well!! Their raises could cost an employee or two making less money to lose their position just to make up the difference. Not that these two money grubbers would care. It is going to be a really interesting year watching this show! Wow Richmond county you got what you wanted now PAY UP!

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 02/10/13 - 08:00 am
6
2
Columbia County

Their sheriff deserves every penny why because he has been keeping the crime rate low for many YEARS not just 2 months!!

seenitB4
98777
Points
seenitB4 02/10/13 - 08:01 am
3
6
Lordy Lordy

How many on here would trade jobs with Rtree......in my opinion EVERYBODY on the force needs a fat raise...all of them...I would rather see that than see umpteem buildings go up....

maandpa
471
Points
maandpa 02/10/13 - 08:05 am
6
2
Gall

How many people find a new job and then ask for a pay raise weeks after being on the job? That's gall. And not only that, the new guy on the job decides to purchase brand new vechicles. Unbelievable! These actions will do nothing but demoralize the department and will send a message that Augusta is hopeless if this is approved. (Some people knew this anyway). The man knew what the salary was when he chose to run for sheriff. Besides, can't he just use the limo that he used to announce his candidacy--which should have communicated a message about him, but he was elected anyway.

Just My Opinion
6304
Points
Just My Opinion 02/10/13 - 08:07 am
4
3
Comments like seenitB4 prove

Comments like seenitB4 prove my point..."Get over yourselves ..he won the dang vote...", thereby painting anyone who has anything at all negative to say about Roundtree or his performance as racist.
What is the old saying??...."If you're not FOR us, then you're AGAINST us!".
Good grief!

Riverman1
94433
Points
Riverman1 02/10/13 - 08:16 am
5
3
Just My Opinion, I don't need

Just My Opinion, I don't need to take up for SeenIt, because she can certainly do it herself, but how do you get what she said as accusing anyone of being racist?

americafirst
1001
Points
americafirst 02/10/13 - 08:22 am
8
0
It is not the job of the

It is not the job of the Commission to evaluate the performance of the Sheriff. That is the people's job. Which is why the Sheriff gets a raise each time he is re-elected. The Sheriff will be rewarded for a job well done by the citizens if and when he is re-elected with a payraise going along with it. This county does not have a problem with keeping a sheriff because of the pay grade. But we do have a problem keeping good deputies because of the low pay. If anyone should get a raise it is the rank and file members of the force.

seenitB4
98777
Points
seenitB4 02/10/13 - 08:33 am
4
3
JMO

I would have said the same thing if all were white.....really ...the man will have a tuff job imho....I think Strength deserved more $$ too....when I take up for the RCSO & the Fire Dept...believe me it is coming from my heart...I know 1st hand how dangerous & how poorly paid these jobs are....I have lived on that MEAGER PAY before ...have YOU??

seenitB4
98777
Points
seenitB4 02/10/13 - 08:36 am
2
2
River

You taught me everything I know...:)

Lordy Lordy

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 02/10/13 - 08:37 am
5
5
Augusta gets what Augusta
Unpublished

Augusta gets what Augusta deserves. Augusta is taking after other cities where the democrats are in charge, corruption and decay follows.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 02/10/13 - 08:38 am
9
1
That almost $17,000 raise the

That almost $17,000 raise the new sheriff is wanting should go to the officers who actually go out fighting crime! Not someone who has not proved his worth yet and cruised into the position after "fighting" crime in one of the worst school districts in the state of GA. He sure cleaned up that place didn't he??

GeorgiaCarolina
242
Points
GeorgiaCarolina 02/10/13 - 08:57 am
6
3
Not yet

Just based on the the 7th grade grammar I have seen in a few coorespondance coming from Sherriff Roundtree, I would not pay the increased salary. Someone making $127k a year should have the basic skills to compose a letter that doesn't look like it was written by someone who couldn't pass high school Englush. Use the extra money to hire a proof reader before you embarrass your department again.

grinder48
2066
Points
grinder48 02/10/13 - 08:59 am
0
0
This is ridiculous!
Unpublished

First, whether legal or not, I despise closed door meetings discussing how taxpayer's money will be spent. That's outrageous. Secondly - in the real world (i.e., business), a new person taking over an existing position isn't entitled to the same pay the predecessor was paid, especially when the predecessor served a long time and received increases based on performance and merit. The new person starts at a significantly lower rate and, if they perform well, are given increases accordingly. If we do as Roundtree requested, a precedence will be set for future elected officials coming in to office. Can't blame Roundtree a bit for asking, that's normal, but the Augusta Commission absolutely must deny the request - in total.

dichotomy
37678
Points
dichotomy 02/10/13 - 09:01 am
5
2
Roundtree DID win an

Roundtree DID win an election.......for a job that has a beginning salary set by law. I'm sure he knew what the beginning salary was when he ran. He has done NOTHING, except be black, to justify having his pay raised to a 30 year veteran level.....and the same thing CERTAINLY applies to the new Solicitor General.

Don't it make you feel good to see that the first illegal closed door back room corrupt dealings out of newly elected officials are coming from 2 of our senior law enforcement officals. It's what I expected. More to come.

Just My Opinion
6304
Points
Just My Opinion 02/10/13 - 09:03 am
3
1
River, I see your point, and

River, I see your point, and admit I was looking at her comment alittle more deeply than she may have intended. My point is that I see this as an indefenseable request and see her comment that he "deserves" the raise because of one of two situations...either because he has earned it due to longevity or performance, or because he's black and it's just the right thing to do. It's impossible for him to deserve it due to time in office, so the race issue is what's left. Honestly, what else can it be? Tell me, because I haven't heard anyone provide a GOOD answer.
BTW, to clarify that I don't have anything personal against Roundtree, I have worked with him in the past and ALWAYS found him to be hard working and professional. He CAN do the job, but I'm afraid he has "advisors" that are playing a bigger role in his job than they should.

seenitB4
98777
Points
seenitB4 02/10/13 - 09:07 am
3
3
About the grammar

Here we go again.....

This is the reason I will give the man a break on that...

Not everyone had the good luck to grow up in a house with educated adults....many didn't ...especially in the south rural area....I don't know about Rtrees childhood & I can't speak for him but I do know many well spoken adults can't balance a dang checkbook & their words are sooo pretty.....when I look at the articles about the DeKalb county BOE it tells me a lot.....probably some of the best educated folks you can find but can't work a mouse trap much less a county....

I hope Rtree speed reads the grammar course....but I'm sure the man can lock up a punk..even if he says..."I'm puttin ya behind in jail."

seenitB4
98777
Points
seenitB4 02/10/13 - 09:12 am
2
3
They deserve more money

They all deserve more money...I have said THAT on here for ages.....I have lived on the stinking pay....geez

I said give Columbia county more money too....didn't see anyone accuse me of being a racist on that!

dsterling9
1255
Points
dsterling9 02/10/13 - 09:15 am
5
0
Sheriff, Solicitor General Raises

fter reading the article concerning the requested salary increases of Kellie Kenner-McIntyre and Richard Roundtree I would like to ask you to please vote against such salary increases. Both knew the salary before accepting the positions and, in my opinion, should leave the office if not satisfied. Since both appear to make more than the state mean salaries there is no justification for increases. In this era of a lagging economy no increases should be expected.

JRC2024
10600
Points
JRC2024 02/10/13 - 09:40 am
4
0
I wonder if I can lobby for a

I wonder if I can lobby for a reduction in my property taxes since I have been on the tax paying job in Richmond County for more than 30 years as a homeowner. Sounds reasonable to me. In 15 years they have given me raises totaling 236%. A reduction in my contribution would be great.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 02/10/13 - 09:44 am
3
3
Government Workers(on all levels) and Politicians

All of them think they are worth more than they actually are! The two people in this article have really got some nerve.....or is it as someone said earlier...ENTITLED??

justthefacts
25499
Points
justthefacts 02/10/13 - 09:54 am
2
0
River

River, no offense, but please keep Forsyth County's situation out of the conversation. We like things low key....thanks.

WAG
287
Points
WAG 02/10/13 - 09:55 am
5
3
This is the most absurd thing

This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard of . They knew the slalary when they took the job. If I took a job and then asked for a raise in the first month they would laugh me out of the building. If there is money to be handed out give to the ones that deserve it like the cops that risk their lives every day while he sits behind a desk and does nothing. If he does not likt the pay quit! Better yet fire him for even asking. The audacity of this man is beyond words!!!!!! Makes me wanna puke!

storiesihaveread
369
Points
storiesihaveread 02/10/13 - 10:01 am
5
0
Maybe just maybe

They can give the deputies that measly pay raise of $750.00 dollars a year also!

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