04/05/11 — Duplin will not reclassify jurisdiction

View Archive

Duplin will not reclassify jurisdiction

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on April 5, 2011 1:46 PM

A proposal by the Duplin County Sheriff's Department to reclassify its jurisdiction areas and to increase the salaries of its deputies was denied by the county Board of Commissioners at a recent meeting.

When Sheriff Blake Wallace first discussed the plan with commissioners, he felt a realignment would save the county enough money to cover the pay raises, but, upon further analysis, he discovered it would ultimately be an extra cost.

County Manager Mike Aldridge said the realignment would have brought in more revenue, and raises for Sheriff's Office employees would have left the county with a surplus, if salaries were the only factors. He explained that after considering overtime pay, benefits, FICA, workers' compensation payments and retirement investments, the proposal ultimately would have led to a net cost.

"At the end of the spreadsheet, it showed a cost instead of a cost savings, so we put the brakes on it," Aldridge said.

He said the county could have absorbed the cost for the initial year because of a surplus of funds it received from the town of Calypso. A contract existed between the town and the sheriff's department for protection, but when the contract expired June 30, 2010, the monthly $1,800 payments continued to come in and Sheriff Wallace continued to send deputies to the area. Because the revenue wasn't budgeted, it was placed into the department's general fund, leading Wallace to consider pay raises for his employees.

But the limitations of those funds also contributed to the board's decision, Aldridge said.

"We were reluctant to allow him to reclassify and provide increases of pay, not because they're not justified, but because they couldn't do it for the county employees as a whole," he said.

Aldridge said he was confident, though, that the board would eventually allow the sheriff's office to allocate the funds from the Calypso payments for its use since it was the department that was bringing in the revenue.