Government

More News | | | Editor

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
  • Follow Government

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.

Back | Next
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The state total for Richmond County, $95,892.14, however, is superseded by local legislation.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.”

Comments (109) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
rational thought trumps emotion
2558
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 02/09/13 - 04:09 pm
8
10
Lot different from the first report

So, the Sheriff, is basically requesting that the pay not be cut from what Sheriff Strength had which was over $126,000.00. That doesn't sound like he is requesting a raise but simply to keep the salary his predecessor had for managing the same county and almost 800 employees - a far cry different from what Austin Rhodes and Sylvia Cooper incorrectly reported. I understand he is new to the job but that doesn’t mean his salary should drastically be reduced to the very minimum allowed by law. Asking to keep the salary the same as it was is not asking for a raise. That being said, Joe Jackson and the other commissioners should listen to the deputies and do whatever it takes to get the deputies a raise as that hasn’t happened in many years, even when the fire department got 10%.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/09/13 - 04:10 pm
13
5
As I have previously stated...

...the term "public officer" means an appointed official, like a member of the Coliseum Authority, or Aviation Commission. It DOES NOT mean elected official. If you read the law, it lists all kinds of things you can do in a closed meeting involving "public officers", such as review performance and "rate". One elected official has NO AUTHORITY to rate or review performance of another elected official.

We may have to have this specifically explained in the Sunshine Laws, because CLEARLY it is widely misunderstood.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/09/13 - 04:14 pm
23
5
OH...and Strength had 30 years uninterrupted on the job...

...which accounts for his increases. No way can you justify Roundtree or anyone else walking into such a deal. Same for McIntyre.

And neither Sylvia nor myself specified where the requests came from. I have no idea who asked for it, which is another reason to have the discussion in public. These sneaky suckers will attempt to pull one every chance they get...(lawyers and certain commissioners)

Riverman1
84064
Points
Riverman1 02/09/13 - 05:45 pm
8
13
Columbia County and Richmond County

What county, around here, do we think FIRST came up with this idea of increasing the salary of the Sheriff? Did it come from Richmond or Columbia counties, no matter how it ended up in the Chronicle? Do you think they collaborated? Could we get a reporter to definitively ASK which county first brought this issue up?

It’s getting pretty ridiculous trying to determine whether the Commission should discuss the raise for the office of sheriff in public or not. Some are splitting hairs over whether the discussion constituted avoiding the Sunshine Law. In my objective judgment, if there is any such thing, it is border line either way and probably not in violation of the law. It’s a completely polarizing, waste of time to focus on that aspect.

It’s also interesting at this time Columbia County has decided Clay Whittle needs a raise. His raise will put him at $135,000, more than Roundtree even with the raise. Think Columbia County was reading here? I guarantee you THAT raise will pass. THAT department, with far fewer employees and less crime, will be paying its sheriff more than Richmond County with its intense crime situation and large department.

Although this is also about the Solicitor's office, I’ll state this as plainly as I know how. The Sheriff of Richmond County deserves a larger salary, no matter who he is, than the Sheriff of Columbia County. I supported others in the RCSO Sheriff’s race, but that’s besides the point, the office deserves the increased pay. It’s a common practice to adjust salaries when a new person moves into a position.

Understand, I think Whittle or any sheriff in Aiken, Richmond or Columbia counties should be paid more than they are currently with this qualifier. Government retirement salaries are totally out of control. That goes for all employees. It’s ridiculous to pay them the current percentage of the salary they now receive in retirement. Tell them to save their money for retirement.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/09/13 - 05:49 pm
16
6
First off...

...discussions behind closed doors on ANY governmental topic should be extremely rare. It is important to discuss these raises publicly, just as WE are doing here.

Now...who wants to try and say that a "newbie" walking in the door deserves what the predecessor made in virtually ANY position? The minimum salary was set, and the increases Strength got were because he was IN the job...for YEARS. I have no problem with the new Sheriff getting those raises at the same rate everyone else does, but no more.

With the increases he is due to get as he gets re-elected, he should do just fine. No matter WHAT, the notion that these discussions should occur out of the public eye (or ear) is batcrap crazy.

Riverman1
84064
Points
Riverman1 02/09/13 - 06:14 pm
5
11
"Now...who wants to try and

"Now...who wants to try and say that a "newbie" walking in the door deserves what the predecessor made in virtually ANY position?"

Maybe we should go back over sheriffs in Richmond and Columbia counties and see how their raises due to salary and supplements occurred. Austin, the election is over. Give it up.

Riverman1
84064
Points
Riverman1 02/09/13 - 06:26 pm
4
14
Let's Cut to the Chase

Should the county with the largest population, biggest department by far, most diverse population and highest crime rate pay their sheriff the most?

augustarookie
300
Points
augustarookie 02/09/13 - 06:28 pm
18
2
unbelievable

You have got to be kidding. Again, rewarded for bad behavior. Lets see how sheriff performs before considering this request.

dichotomy
32991
Points
dichotomy 02/09/13 - 06:55 pm
22
2
For my vote, I say pay

For my vote, I say pay Roundtree the minimum and give him the raises as they are supposed to come. He is not entitled to START where a man who was in the job for 30 years was at when he retired. If a company hires you to repalce a man who has been there long enough to retire, they do not start you at the salary he was getting when he retired. And what Columbia County pays Whittle has nothing to do with it since Whittle has been in that job for a while and they have a performance they can evaluate. I think would should start Roundtree at the entry level, which is a raise from what he was getting at the RCBOE, and wait 2 or 3 years and see if he can do the job without doing anything crooked, screwing up, or getting us sued. He is an unknown as far as job performance, and comes with a questionable prior job performance and personal performance history. He is on probation as far as I am concerned and should be paid as the rookie he is. That is why we have a minimum salary on the books for the RC sheriff position.......FOR BEGINNERS.

And needless to say there is NO REASON to give the rookie Solicitor General a pay raise right out of the chute either.

itsanotherday1
43269
Points
itsanotherday1 02/09/13 - 06:59 pm
14
1
Dittos Rookie

Longevity counts for something. There should be a base salary for new sheriffs, with appropriate raises with tenure based on performance. Base should be established on a consensus basis against other similar sized agencies.

itsanotherday1
43269
Points
itsanotherday1 02/09/13 - 07:01 pm
11
1
Oops

As usual, I see Dichotomy has already said what needs saying. Should have read all posts before responding.

Darby
25694
Points
Darby 02/09/13 - 07:04 pm
17
1
If there is an entry level pay grade for the position....

... then that's where Roundtree should begin. Further raises should occur as earned by demonstrated performance.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/09/13 - 07:41 pm
12
3
Strength...

...is the only RC Sheriff that I can remember that went into office as a veteran RC employee...everyone else came from other places. Webster did not have any RCSD experience, and I do not believe JB Dyches did either. Beck had been an APD Chief of Police...Bill Anderson...who knows?
Foots Atkins...George Mutimer ? Any of you old timers care to chime in...?

If I remember correctly, seniority is not transferred if you come BACK into the dept. You start from the bottom...again. That has always been policy.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/09/13 - 07:52 pm
6
5
@Austin "Any of you old

@Austin "Any of you old timers care to chime in...? "Now seriously, how can we admit we know the answers with that intro?:)

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 02/09/13 - 09:28 pm
2
16
The truth will set you free!

Rational thought.... Sylvia is the same person who wrote the editorial disagreeing with Augusta being ranked the 7th best city to live, and 6th bet place to retire. The editorial was printed three days before the Chronicle even decided to run the story featuring the two rankings.

The Chronicle printed the Martinez ranking about the 11th most affordable growing community, but we didn't see any editorial from Sylvia.

How is Martinez a better place to live compared to West Augusta, CBD, Summerville, Forest Hills, etc? Nothing against Martinez, but it's by far the worst section(btw Pleasant Home rd-Club Car) of Washington rd.

The same bias is used daily across the local media, because of the conservative stronghold. The major problem is Richmond county being majority democrat. I think Sheriff Roundtree should begin at the $127k salary.

TK3
562
Points
TK3 02/09/13 - 09:40 pm
12
1
Back room politics

NO closed door meetings and NO, totally unearned, raise for NEW Sheriff Richard Roundtree ($110,000 to $127,000).

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/09/13 - 10:19 pm
9
1
About THAT truth...If

About THAT truth...
If Martinez, is as bad as it gets, by that standard Columbia County is by FAR the better place to live and raise a family.

But why oh why does everything have to come down to a competition between the two counties or race?

Just My Opinion
5633
Points
Just My Opinion 02/09/13 - 09:45 pm
11
3
Look, the way I see it, the

Look, the way I see it, the only reason the discussion of Roundtree getting a raise has gone this far is because he is black. I know that won't sit well with many, but I'm just calling it the way I see it. I have NO problem giving the man...whatever color...a raise, but not until he EARNS IT! Let Roundtree stay in the job for awhile, see how well he does, and then make the decision based on his performance. I mean, that is what he's looking at doing to his subordinates, right? It's only fair. No way should he get a raise right off the bat..no way. He knew EXACTLY what the pay was when he ran for the job.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again...Roundtree is a puppet, and his puppeteers are orchestrating all this. Hit the county up for a raise when you're brand new and the county is just getting used to having a black sheriff...anybody that disagrees with the idea of a raise is easily and quickly painted as a racist!
I don't care what color the guy is. I didn't vote for him, but I'm very comfortable with the idea of him being in office, if he acts on his own. I really think that Roundtree's heart is in the right place. But I also think that he's doing what he's being told to do. An immediate raise for him will pave the way for future black political newcomers.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/09/13 - 10:52 pm
12
3
Good work Susan McCord...

...getting the word that Tree and McIntyre did in fact request the raises.

Less than 30 days on the job, from what I heard...pretty ballsy. And what CC chooses to pay Clay Whittle doesn't matter a bit. That is a CC matter, and the two counties should not care what the other does about anything.

Little Lamb
46022
Points
Little Lamb 02/09/13 - 10:59 pm
17
1
Newbie

Come on, let's face it. When a new person comes in behind a twenty-plus-year veteran, the newbie's salary needs to be racked back, so he can earn his raises year by year. It's only common sense.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/09/13 - 11:05 pm
12
1
"Augusta’s administrator is

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

Since Russell is on board with the commission giving the new sheriff and solicitor their raises, does he (Russell) plan to grant raises to all of the deputies...?

If not, what a great way to destroy the morale of this entire department.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/09/13 - 11:16 pm
15
2
Reason 678...

...to fire Fred Russell YESTERDAY.

pgapeach2
1183
Points
pgapeach2 02/09/13 - 11:26 pm
12
0
Raises

I voted for the Sheriff Roundtree and Solicitor General Kenner-McIntyre. I think that it is too soon to have a pay increase or even leaving it the same as the former sheriff. What they need to be discussing behind closed doors are these raggedy roads in Augusta and coming up with a plan to fix them. I have been away from here for over 17 yrs and return to find that the bumpy area on Wrightsboro Rd once you start to pass Baldino's Sub has not changed. PLEASE tell me what my tax dollars are being used for!

Darby
25694
Points
Darby 02/09/13 - 11:59 pm
15
1
"Should the county with the largest population,.....

biggest department by far, most diverse population and highest crime rate pay their sheriff the most?"

No, his pay should be fair and reasonable and increased only commensurate with his job performance. Just as it was with his predecessor.

Darby
25694
Points
Darby 02/10/13 - 12:07 am
7
1
"PLEASE tell me what my tax dollars are being used for!"

I think this thread should answer your question..

Little Lamb - "It's only common sense."

Tell me you aren't looking to find common sense anywhere in Augusta government. Tell me it ain't so.

scoopdedoop64
2366
Points
scoopdedoop64 02/10/13 - 12:15 am
12
2
Duh?

This is a no brainer. The reason they are doing this behind closed doors is because they know people would oppose it. I just don't understand. Why pay Roundtree more than Strength when he had been there so long? Its an insult to the former sheriff. This is just plain wrong. At least let him prove he can be a good sheriff before you start throwing money at him. I agree with all that Austin Rhodes has said on this one. Makes me mad how Richmond County does business.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 02/10/13 - 12:38 am
13
4
This is absolutely absurd!! I

This is absolutely absurd!! I guarantee $110,000.00 is the highest yearly salary Roundtree has ever made in his life. Yet he has the audacity to ask for a raise, less than a month on the job? Are you serious? They are furloughing County employees; and even talking about furloughing deputies one day a year, to save money? Then this idiot asks for a raise? The insanity of this world just continues. I'm betting he will get this raise.

Also, Richmond County Sheriff's Office has an established entry level pay for deputies. Doesn't matter how many years of exerience I have, if I'm hired in Richmond County, I get the same entry level pay. If a deputy with 15 years of law enforcement experience is hired, they get the same entry level pay. Why is this not acceptable for the Sheriff? As I stated, this is probably the highest yearly salary this man has EVER earned, yet he is already asking for more. You would THINK he would be so happy to have won the election, he would be humble to take such a very good salary; but is he? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! I hope this is his ONLY term!!

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 02/10/13 - 12:45 am
9
3
Actually, I hope he gets

Actually, I hope he gets absolutely comfortable with this 100,000+ salary, for four years; then loses the next election and goes back to 40k at the BOE. Wow, wouldn't that be an awesome humbling experience. Maybe he will buy him a big house and new vehicle with this new salary and then lose it all, if he loses the next election. This man needs a serious EGO check and I hope he gets it in 4 years.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah; I know some people will think this is mean of me, but I'm pretty much sick and tired of seeing this type of thing. I work for about 40k per year and thats after 15+ years of serving the public. I'm content with my life and accept this line of work doesn't pay that much, Ok. But when I see someone like this, I just can't help but hope for a humbling experience for them. THEY NEED IT!!

Grandpa Jones
1050
Points
Grandpa Jones 02/10/13 - 02:35 am
5
0
...

"Longevity counts for something." Wished it did, Itsanotherday1.

I remember years ago when I was working for a government agency, my boss was telling me how much he was making as he was approaching retirement. I decided to show him paperwork where some woman half his age who had just recently graduated from college was still making a couple of thousands more than he was for the same position. The "shocked" look on his face was "Priceless!" lol.

Yep, I got out of that place as quick as I could because like he was getting screwed I knew I was too.

Grandpa Jones
1050
Points
Grandpa Jones 02/10/13 - 02:35 am
5
0
....

Concerning Roundtree, maybe, he thinks his salary should be like the President's salary ... picking up where the last President's salary ended. lol.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Many black colleges struggling

Although Paine has struggled with its own failures over the past several years, HBCUs across the nation are dealing with some of the same troubles that are threatening their missions and existence.
Search Augusta jobs