Citizens for Better Government

Blount County Tennessee

 

How do 5% salary increases become 74% increases?

 

You probably have read a great deal about how our county employees need a raise. The Mayor suggested that each department head and office holder include a five percent increase in their new budgets. Since most county employees did not receive a salary increase last year, this was a reasonable request.

 

The only problem is that some county department heads decided to ignore the guideline. They are asking for huge increases in their salary budgets. By huge, we mean up to 74 percent! The table below shows the county officials who are looking for more than five percent salary increases. These numbers compare salary budgets only, no benefits are included. According to information accompanying the new budget, none of the listed departments are adding new people.

 

As usual, the Sheriff is leading this attack on taxpayers’ wallets. The salary increases he is proposing for his cost centers range from 74.4 percent down to a measley 9.1 percent. The Sheriff’s only justification for these increases is to: “bring employees closer to Maryville and Alcoa pay plans”.  Why? Of all the officers that have quit the Sheriff’s department this year, just three (out of 268 total employees) have gone to one of these departments. It is interesting that Sheriff has not produced any credible benchmarks on what people are making at other similar sized county Sheriff’s departments.

 

Of course, the Sheriff was not alone. Mike Morton, the Tax Assessor, included a 33.8% increase in his budget. And the Mayor, who should be setting an example of fiscal discipline, is increasing his salary budget by 12.1%.

 

This technique of pointing to someone who is making more money to justify an increase is interesting.  Go find someone you think has a similar job to yours, but makes a lot more money than you. Then, go to your boss and demand that he or she give you a major salary increase. Let us know how it works out for you.

 

If the County Commission opens taxpayer wallets to this kind of nonsense, you can be sure that every other employee in the county will go looking for somebody in some other organization who makes a lot more money. Then, they will ask the county to match it. How will the Commission deal with that?

 

The taxpayers of this county supported reasonable pay increases for our employees. The large increases shown in this table are an insult to the taxpayers and can only stir outrage in the community.


 

Cost Center

07/ 08 Salary Budget

06 / 07 Salary Budget

Cost Center Title

Increase 06/07 to 07/08

Responsible Official

53900

$314,401

$180,234

OTHER ADMIN OF JUSTICE

74.4%

Sheriff Berrong

64000

$45,255

$30,552

LITTER AND TRASH COLLECT

48.1%

Sheriff Berrong

54116

$35,300

$24,816

DRUG CONTROL

42.2%

Sheriff Berrong

54150

$60,049

$42,607

DRUG ENFORCEMENT

40.9%

Sheriff Berrong

52310

$199,536

$146,615

REAPPRAISAL PROGRAM

36.1%

Mike Morton

54210

$4,287,373

$3,203,262

JAIL

33.8%

Sheriff Berrong

54110

$3,804,296

$2,976,696

SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT

27.8%

Sheriff Berrong

54112

$539,208

$424,511

HWY SAFETY GRANT-SHERIFF

27.0%

Sheriff Berrong

54113

$207,541

$164,999

SCHOOL RESOURCE OFF SHERIFF

25.8%

Sheriff Berrong

54120

$37,065

$30,118

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE-STATE

23.1%

Sheriff Berrong

58110

$321,000

$278,600

TOURISM

15.2%

Fred Forster

52300

$510,179

$449,780

PROPERTY ASSESSORS OFFICE

13.4%

Mike Morton

51300

$199,381

$177,900

COUNTY EXECUTIVES OFFICE

12.1%

Mayor Cunningham

54240

$1,052,158

$939,405

JUVENILE SERVICES

12.0%

Sheriff Berrong

51310

$108,897

$99,291

HUMAN RESOURCES

9.7%

Betsy Cunningham

54114

$749,032

$686,430

COMMUNITY POLICING GRANT

9.1%

Sheriff Berrong

51800

$1,190,655

$1,120,256

COUNTY BUILDINGS

6.3%

Damon Fortney

52400

$277,746

$261,993

COUNTY TRUSTEES OFFICE

6.0%

Scott Graves

 

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