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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The state total for Richmond County, $95,892.14, however, is superseded by local legislation.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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Austin Rhodes
2907
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/10/13 - 11:22 am
7
6
Roundtree made 58k at the BOE...

...which is just SILLY, if you ask me.

The state law really should be altered to allow RCSD officers to work in the schools (there are some property and jurisdictional issues under state law that make that difficult).

By the way...there is a certain irony that a man swept into office with the support of 95% of Augusta's public housing projects (people who pay ZERO property taxes) demanding a raise paid for by the people who DO write hefty checks to the county tax office...and who, for the most part, would not have wanted Roundtree to become Sheriff. (based on the voting patterns of those neighborhoods in all contests)

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 02/10/13 - 11:24 am
9
6
...and I MAY be wrong...

...but I believe Tree's position at the BOE is being eliminated with the hiring of the new BOE Chief. I was told by a trustee that the only reason he was hired anyway was to placate the minority trustees who agreed to hire Pat Clayton as BOE Chief. The same Pat Clayton who is now Tree's Chief Deputy.

LillyfromtheMills
13910
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LillyfromtheMills 02/10/13 - 05:43 pm
9
6
The new Sheriff

Should be embarrassed to look his employees in their eyes. His first job should be to take care of them and not look out for himself!

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 02/10/13 - 12:27 pm
8
5
@SeenitB4

Why do you keep saying he "Deserves" the raise? The guy has been on the job less than a month, and is making over 100k a year; is that not enough? Isn't that a VERY good salary; or is 100k like paying someone in chicken poo now days? I just don't get it, a lot of human beings would love to be making 6 figure salaries, but people like him aren't humble about it and others think he deserves more.

What is so hard about his job? It's TIME consuming, thats about it. It's not like he is out there working his fingers to the bone. The Sheriff's job consists mostly of MEETINGS. Meeting with this group or that group, Sheriff's Association meetings, Commission meetings, etc. Yes, a Sheriff is extremely busy doing things that consumes TIME, but he is NOT working hard. He's NOT a crime fighter during his term, he is a pencil pusher, thats it. His commissioned officers are the ones run the department and keep it running smoothly. He only hears about the most important issues; the ones that are news worthy. He does NOT deal with day to day activities.

It's bad when a person making 100k a year is told they DESERVE MORE without even being on the job for a month. How exactly can you justify he DESERVES more? He could fail miserably, and its quite possible he will. I've already heard he is causing MUCH division within the department. If the morale of his department declines, the preformance will decline; wait and see.

It seems high ranking officials in EVERY level of government, are really proud of how much they are worth. They think they deserve to make more and more money, while the lower guys (Beat Deputies, Firemen, Road Dept workers) are getting hosed. Besides the Sheriff's position, aren't elected officials supposed to run for office to try to HELP the people; giving something to their communities? Aren't THEY supposed to be the ones sacrificing themselves for the good of the public? I would absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see every politically elected persons salary be below 40k a year. It would be interesting to see then, who all would put personal financial ambitioins aside and still try to win the position, to truly do something for their community. I find in hard to believe; in my heart, that ANYONE runs for political office today or anyone besides themselves. They couldn't care less about the public!!

seenitB4
90761
Points
seenitB4 02/10/13 - 11:54 am
4
5
Myfather

You have made some good points...

IMO....Rtree will face a bigger hurdle than most in this job....he already has in many ways....his name will be spoken in heated & hated ways in many places.....I have been accused of negative talk on here about the CSRA...Augusta is my home & I still love it btw....now I'm trying to see the best in a situation that can't change anyway ...you will more than likely see blacks in most positions in this county & for obvious reasons...THE VOTES......
I have said & still say...give the man a chance....I really wish some could be as gracious as Freddie was when he lost.....(Freddie was the man I wanted)
The job is dangerous for all the men.....I have always thought they should be paid more money.....think about it....how many worry about death while they sit behind a desk....or cash register....or make golf carts...etc......anyway I have to get busy here....we all have an opinion...don't we...I gave mine...skip my posts if yall don't want to read me....

myfather15
55764
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myfather15 02/10/13 - 12:10 pm
7
2
@seenitB4

"...you will more than likely see blacks in most positions in this county & for obvious reasons...THE VOTES......"

??????...........Where did my post saying a single word about his race? Race has absolutely NOTHING to do with this, although I'm sure some people will always say it does. If ANY, NEWLY ELECTED Sheriff comes in and IMMEDIATELY asks for a raise without proving themselves, I will blast them; hold me to that.

I'm just sick to my stomach of those in positions of power. It seems more and more, the only person with a higher esteem of them, is themselves. A six figure salary is an amazing salary to the vast majority of people out here, but not to an election winner. Why? Because he thinks he is soooooooooo awesome, because the people voted for him. So he must be so great he deserves a nice raise, less than a month on the job. It just doesn't make common sense, but there isn't much in this world that does anymore.

boomhauer
650
Points
boomhauer 02/10/13 - 12:15 pm
1
0
"110,000 to $127,000"...Good
Unpublished

"110,000 to $127,000"...Good Lord if you can't live on 100k salary then you don't deserve to be Sheriff because you have no idea what you're doing.

seenitB4
90761
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seenitB4 02/10/13 - 12:26 pm
3
2
You didn't

Read all the posts & see what I'm getting at....anyway...my opinion stays just like I said....GIVE ALL a dang raise...anyone putting their life on the line deserves it..
AMEN!

Austin Rhodes
2907
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/10/13 - 12:33 pm
8
5
The blatant dishonesty...

...of running HARD for an office, and never ONCE mentioning the need for a higher salary, and then trying to SNEAK it in by super secret request under the cover of night is appalling.

...and not completely unexpected.

myfather15
55764
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myfather15 02/10/13 - 12:34 pm
6
2
Once again, it appears the

Once again, it appears the TRUTH does NOT matter in the least little bit to some posters on here. But they certainly try to make themselves appear as if it does. They wouldn't know the truth if it smack them right in the face with a brick. Their logic is lacking one big important ingredient..........logic!!

SeenitB4, the above isn't towards you at all. I appreciate you saying ALL deserve a raise, I agree with you; not because that includes me, but because I see deputies, firemen and other Country workers struggle financially all the time. I wish I could pay them truly what their work is worth. But as long as we have leaders like this, it will never happen.

myfather15
55764
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myfather15 02/10/13 - 12:40 pm
5
0
Austin, he should take the

Austin, he should take the entry level pay for a Sheriff; end of story. Just like deputies he hires must take entry level pay. If he would humble himself, he would be glad to take entry level pay and be GRATEFUL for such a good salary. But it is also NOT completely unexpected that he will NOT humble himself; being content to take an entry level pay. He has probably surrounded himself with people who tell him daily how great he is. It appears he is believing them.

countyman
20584
Points
countyman 02/10/13 - 12:59 pm
3
9
I'm positive the majority of

I'm positive the majority of people complaining don't even live in Richmond County. These people bash Augusta daily so what else is new.

Richard Roundtree deserves the money for the overall community policing efforts. The advisory board, tasers, etc will out help out the crime rate. The crime rate of Augusta is already lower than the majority of peer cities.

Scoobynews... Can you share the facts showing us how Richmond County is one of the worst schools districts in the state. I can think of several schools in Richmond County who outperformed(non magnet) the schools in Columbia County. Even though Davidson located in downtown Augusta is always ranked the number one school in the entire state. I hope you're comparing the county against Fulton, Chatham, Bibb, Clarke, Muscogee, Dougherty, etc. Richmond County is not a suburban or exurban county of another city. It's similar to comparing Richmond County against extremely rural counties like Taliaferro with a 40% graduation rate(under GA new graduation formula).

Chascusman... Augusta was recently named the 4th best city to live in, and 2nd in terms of high tech job growth.. Some people just hate Augusta, and see no good in anything. How can a city be in decline but outpace Boston, San Jose, Raleigh, Austin, Seattle, Madison, San Francisco, etc in high tech jobs?

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 02/10/13 - 12:54 pm
7
5
Countyman...

... I bet I pay more in sales tax revenue to the City of Augusta than many of your residents pay in property taxes. We live in the CSRA...what happens in one jurisdiction most definitely affects the others, and if you do not see that you need to take off the rose colored BLINDERS you have on.

This reminds me of Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize 15 minutes after winning the White House. Same mindset, same mentality.

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 02/10/13 - 12:57 pm
6
4
...and as proud as I am of the magnet schools...

...Countyman's use of them to tout the RC school system, or the public school system in general, is laughable.

They are entities all their own. You can no more compare a magnet school to "regular public schools" than you can the NFL to high school football.

texsmoke
139
Points
texsmoke 02/10/13 - 01:05 pm
8
1
Didn't read all

Didn't read all comments so I may be repeating. Did they know the salary when they were seeking election. One month in a position. He has never been a Sheriff before so no one can predict how he will do. The minimum salary is 86k. So they gave him 24k more. That's plenty. If after a year he has proven himself worthy then let's revisit this then. As far as the solicitor I can only roll my eyes. Don't forget his and his second in commands new fully loaded rides he already purchased.

countyman
20584
Points
countyman 02/10/13 - 01:14 pm
3
8
The truth will set you free!

I clearly understand this is the CSRA, and everybody is in this together. I hope you can understand certain people are NEGATIVE no matter the subject about Augusta. The people who didn't want Roundtree to win are using the salary to express what they already felt.

Who is touting the RC school system? I'm definitely still not over the Dr. Bedden situation, and how the superintendent got away to Dallas. I had to comment on here, because the schools/politics/crime/etc in Augusta are not as bad like some people want you to believe.

Who is mentioning the magnet schools? Plus their are tons of magnet schools in Georgia, but Davidson(downtown Augusta) is ranked number one. The graduation rate of Cross Creek is higher than Grovetown, and Westside usually beat out every high school in Columbia County except Lakeside/Greenbrier in the last few years(SAT/ACT). And this is comparing a main county versus a suburban county. The kids who attend magnet schools come from diverse backgrounds, and the schools in upper middle class suburban areas(Johns Creek, Alpharetta, etc in metro Atlanta)are rich.

Austin Rhodes
2907
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/10/13 - 01:20 pm
3
4
Apples and Orangutans...

UNLESS the same % of students are TAKING the SATs at Westside (and they don't)...there is no way to compare. I have ALWAYS said that the schools are a direct reflection of the neighborhoods they serve, so if you want to say CrossCreek has better neighborhoods than Grovetown does, I have no reason to disagree with you.

YOU SAID Davidson is # 1 in the state...they should be. They cherry pick, and have the ability to send their bad apples back to the regular schools and the law FORCES them to take them. You CANNOT compare a magnet school to anything else...even the OTHER magnet schools in GA all have different criteria and standards, and DFA is supposed to be the toughest.

YOU SAID to pay the man (Roundtree) MORE for simply showing up. Any responsible person (like me) calls BS on that and rightfully so.

Darby
26888
Points
Darby 02/10/13 - 01:22 pm
4
2
"... picking up where the last President's

salary ended. lol."

Should the Marine Corps band also be playing "Hail to the Chief"?

bubbasauce
22037
Points
bubbasauce 02/10/13 - 01:28 pm
5
0
That's today's mindset. Get

That's today's mindset. Get a new job and start out at the highest pay. Hardly anyone these days believe in working their way up the ladder.

Riverman1
86869
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Riverman1 02/10/13 - 01:46 pm
4
5
About "Hail to the Chief?

When a new President is elected is he/she paid less than the previous one? If a raise is given doesn't he get it? Congressman? State School Superintendent? Coroner? Any elected position?

Austin Rhodes
2907
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/10/13 - 01:55 pm
4
3
Federal office pay rates are set by Federal law...

...locals by locals. When a sitting official is re-elected, they get raises (RC Sheriff, anyway)...when any new folks get elected, the salary is reset. As it should be.

The officials are given every COL increase as they are serving, and should be. But can you imagine replacing every 30 year veteran in the private sector with someone making the same (or more) than their predecessor? Particularly in THESE times?

Indefensibly silly. As I have said before, it is the Obama-Nobel syndrome all over again...EXCEPT...that Obama did not secretly request the award.

Austin Rhodes
2907
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/10/13 - 01:56 pm
4
3
Think of it as a longevity bonus...

...the new guy does not get to benefit from the old guy's success or excellence.

GnipGnop
12465
Points
GnipGnop 02/10/13 - 02:01 pm
3
3
it doesn´t matter...

If you pay property taxes Austin....and it doesn't matter about magnet schools...get him to compare Laney, Glenn Hills, Butler or Josey to any other school around the CSRA...Not sure what ARC entity he works for but you have to applaud his loyalty...

useful
695
Points
useful 02/10/13 - 02:12 pm
4
3
JUST COME,LAY DOWN ,KISS HIS

JUST COME,LAY DOWN ,KISS HIS FEET AND GIVE IT TO HIM.

jackrussell
219
Points
jackrussell 02/10/13 - 02:54 pm
8
0
Deputies sure aren't getting

Deputies sure aren't getting cost of living raises. And the commission should be ASHAMED to even consider a 17k raise for the sheriff when they denied a measley $750.00 raise for the deputies. The deputies should be getting at least a 10 percent raise to make up for the many YEARS they didn't get anything, not even COL increases. Deputies now are making almost the same they made ten years ago! And some of you want their boss to get a HUGE raise after five weeks? That is just ridiculous!!!

Riverman1
86869
Points
Riverman1 02/10/13 - 03:08 pm
2
5
So when Charlie Webster

So when Charlie Webster became Sheriff did he make less than his predecessor? Really the only fair way to do this is a comparison with similar departments and populations. Clay Whittle will be making more in a county with a smaller population, smaller department and lots less crime.

Riverman1
86869
Points
Riverman1 02/10/13 - 03:11 pm
3
5
Austin speaks the truth

Austin speaks the truth here:

"By the way...there is a certain irony that a man swept into office with the support of 95% of Augusta's public housing projects (people who pay ZERO property taxes) demanding a raise paid for by the people who DO write hefty checks to the county tax office...and who, for the most part, would not have wanted Roundtree to become Sheriff."

That's exactly what this is all about. Some are not happy with the election...Austin among them.

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 02/10/13 - 04:09 pm
4
2
Riverman, instead of trying

Riverman, instead of trying to confuse the isssue by muddying the waters; why don't you refute Austin's post with facts? You can't, so you must divert attention on the discussion to the fact that Austin, and people who agree with him, just aren't happy about the election. Trying to get people to ASSUME, Austin and others disagreement with this raise, is only because we didn't want him a Sheriff in the first place. Thats a load of JUNK!!

No, I didn't want him to win the election; but I accept it humbly because he was voted in by the people. Nothing I can do about it or would I do, if I could. I would NOT want to go against the Will of the People. But, when I see someone (Sheriff) trying to reward himself, unjustified, I will open my mouth about it, voicing my opinion of it. That doesn't mean, as you would suggest; I'm doing it simply because I didn't want him in office in the first place. It also doesn't mean I'm a racist. It means, I disgreee with giving a man a 17k raise, after being in office for less than one month, having not proven himself in any way, shape or form. He WON an election; does that automatically qualify him for a raise? Does that mean he should make the exact same salary as a man who held the position for over 10 years?

How about using some FACTS to refute someones posts, instead of just emotional nonsense rhetoric.

Just My Opinion
5860
Points
Just My Opinion 02/10/13 - 04:20 pm
6
1
River, if you ran your own

River, if you ran your own business, would you pay the new manager of your store...a rookie-manager...the same pay as the manager who just left the job after 20-something years (not using the previous sheriff's time, because I don't remember it)? You don't know how the guy will work out, so are you REALLY willing to pay him the same? I've ran a business before, and that is NOT the type of thinking that it takes for a business to survive! Throwing extra money at a new hire is foolish. You should know better. In fact, I think you do know better, you just want to take the time to debate it because there's no more football on TV to watch!

Austin Rhodes
2907
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/10/13 - 04:45 pm
4
0
My happiness with the election is immaterial...

...however...so far the guy is living up to his billing.

I am against Whittle getting a raise unless all his people do as well. How do you attest for that, RM? I am very consistent in my philosophy on these things.

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