Archive for Thursday, December 21, 2006

County: Sheriff’s raise not too much

December 21, 2006


Douglas County Sheriff Ken McGovern is paid more than the Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent and some sheriffs in more populous counties, thanks to a $16,640 raise county commissioners gave him this week.

But McGovern still trails Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin and Kansas Bureau of Investigation Director Larry Welch, when it comes to pay.

During an online chat at the Journal-World on Wednesday, County Commission Chairman Bob Johnson said he doesn't think McGovern is overpaid. When McGovern was elected in 2004, commissioners placed him in a bottom pay grade and agreed to re-evaluate him two years later, Johnson said.

"We are keeping our word and the past two years have demonstrated that the sheriff and his people are doing a terrific job," Johnson said.

McGovern's salary jumped from $87,464 to $104,104. That puts him ahead of the Shawnee County sheriff, who earns $71,047, and the Wyandotte County sheriff, who earns $65,603. He still is paid less than the Johnson County sheriff, who receives $118,512.

Olin is paid $107,428 while police chiefs in Olathe and Overland Park are paid $113,131 and $137,244, respectively.

Welch makes $106,766 annually. Kansas Highway Patrol Superintendent William Seck is paid $98,371.

McGovern was out of town Wednesday and unavailable for comment.

Johnson and commissioners Jere McElhaney and Charles Jones also approved the pay increases for Treasurer Paula Gilchrist, Clerk Jamie Shew and Register of Deeds Kay Pesnell - and themselves. Commissioners' pay went from $21,507 to $32,552, an increase of more than 50 percent.

"While it's fair to say that we are able to live without a pay increase, it begs the question of what should the compensation be?" Johnson said. "Also, perhaps this will be a step in the right direction to encourage some other very able person to seek office who might not otherwise be able to afford the risk of being elected."

The pay issue had been placed on the commission's consent agenda during Monday's meeting. The consent agenda usually includes business items the commissioners know they are in agreement on and are passed without discussion. A consent agenda item can be pulled for discussion if requested.

The pay issue was not discussed before the vote because "we didn't want to give anybody the impression we were not unanimous," Johnson said.

Several months ago, commissioners had told County Administrator Craig Weinaug that they would like to see a comparison of salaries of elected officials in other counties.

Those comparisons were released Monday but there had been no prior discussion of them in an open meeting. There had been discussions about the county's pay grade schedule during personnel discussions about the movement of people within the grades during closed-door executive sessions, Johnson said.

The salary increases, including those of the commissioners, were recommended by the county administrator's office.


prairiegal 11 years, 1 month ago

The comparison was only a comparison of the position. We are not being told but the education and experience of all of these people. The Douglas County Sheriff has two years of college. What do these other people have? How many years of actual administration does he have compared to these people. Olin has more experience and education. Makes me wonder about these other comparisions. I also wonder about the morale of the people who work in the Sheriffs department when a big fat raise is given to one person.

H2Hummer 11 years, 1 month ago

Now there is a shocker:

"The raises were recommended by the County Administrator's Office!"

If your boss(es) who can fire you anytime for about any reason asks you to tell the press if you think he or she should get a raise what do you think you would say!

Wyandotte County has NASCAR-Cabela's and enough major crime to keep two sheriffs busy and the Douglas County Sheriff makes more!

H2Hummer 11 years, 1 month ago

Interesting Facts:

Douglas County Population: 99962 (2000 Census) Lawrence Population: 80098

Wyandotte County Population: 169871

The Dounglas County Sheriff is responsible for approx 19, 864 residents in Douglas County

Lawrence PD is responsible for approx 80,098 Residents

lawrenceman22 11 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

justthefacts 11 years, 1 month ago

FYI - just the facts - MOST county officials in larger counties make more then their counterparts in the state. For example, the AG's salary is around $90,000 per year, and the Johnson county DA made approximately $150,000 per year. For whatever reason, the state generally pays its officials and employees less then they'd make working for counties (esp. larger ones). Don't know about how county versus city salaries stack up. Perhaps LJW could do a Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) request of several cities, counties and state agencies, asking for salary information.... ?

yellowhouse 11 years, 1 month ago

The Douglas cty Sheriffs dept is run with the highest level of integrigity. They set the example that law enforcement should follow. Their leader is highly respected and it is a big shame that he would be paid less then Ron Olin!

He runs his dept professionally, and I very seldom hear of injustices with in the Sheriffs Dept. I cannot say the same for the way the Lawrence Police Dpt. is run. I have experienced the vendictive injustice under Olins Dept. for myself.

Oh may thy word my thought engage

in each perplexing case!

Help me to feed on every page

And grow in every grace!

Ps. Exix 84. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law

Bassetlover 11 years, 1 month ago

The sheriff's job is 24-7, 365 and his compensation is well-deserved considering the hours and commitment he makes to protect Douglas County. It is an extremely difficult and high-pressured job and he earns every cent he makes. All you naysayers out there who disagree....bah humbug!

Linda Endicott 11 years, 1 month ago

It's also a job he went into willingly. If he didn't want the long hours and responsibility, he didn't have to run for election.

My job also has long hours, a lot of responsibility, and is often extremely difficult and high-pressured.

I work in a group home for adults.

Should I be making over $100K a year?

Bassetlover 11 years, 1 month ago

Most of us who are working our buns off aren't adequately compensated. Why begrudge those who are?

Bud Stagg 11 years, 1 month ago

Bassetlover, I begrudge it because it's coming out of my inadequate compensation.

These people want us to pay a living wage, but they keep making it more expensive to live in this town.

They just don't get it. They keep putting the cart before the horse. You don't raise taxes to encourage participation, you lower them. You therefore increase revenues by increasing the volume of taxpayers.

Cut the "save the world" programs like the T, which loses money and concentrate on roads, sidewalks, parks, and security. When and if we get some real businesses in here paying taxes and more homeownder paying taxes, then we can try to save the world.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 1 month ago

I begrudge it because I dare anyone to tell me that the sheriff's job is any more valuable than mine.

My job requires vast amounts of training, experience, dedication, and patience. A job that a good lot of people wouldn't deign to do, by the way. So why is it considered less valuable than the sheriff's?

H2Hummer 11 years, 1 month ago

If the Sheriff is on 365 Days a year 24 hrs a day I guess he doesn't ever attend any seminars or take any vacations and he must be in the office or patrolling the county roads every holiday!

What a dedicated public servant!

bretherite 11 years, 1 month ago

Obviously it is not a 24/7 job because he is out of town and unavailable for comment. And I seriously doubt 2 days before Christmas if he is at a training seminar.

hedgehog007 11 years, 1 month ago

A 365/24/7 job does not mean that you are literally at work during that time, and you know it. I do not know the sheriff, but I have seen him at several social functions, and the man always looks tired. Any problem in the county (including Lawrence which is part of the county) is his problem too, and I am sure he gets calls at all hours of the day. Don't forget that most of these criminals, including those who commit crimes in Lawrence, end up in the county jail awaiting trial and sentencing. And what a bunch of whiners! My teaching salary is low for the value I think my position holds, but that doesn't mean I should begrudge someone else for getting paid well to do what I think is probably a hard, time-consuming job. Wow, this town loves to hate authority.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 1 month ago

Oh, teachers should definitely be paid more, hedgehog. It's an often thankless job with loads of abuse heaped upon you by parents and administrators.

I for one question how this country came up with the value of certain jobs, and how we compensate people for the hard work that they do.

Teachers are paid less than they should be. I guess we don't value our children very much.

Day care workers are paid less than they should be. I guess we don't value our children very much.

CNAs and CMAs are paid less than they should be. I guess we don't value nursing home residents or hospital patients much. These people do the difficult things like helping people to the bathroom, helping them dress, shower, clean them up...why isn't that considered valuable?

I care for developmentally disabled adults. Why is that such a low paying job? Don't we value the people that I help to care for? Or is it simply a matter of "out of sight, out of mind"?

Garbage collectors are on the way low end of the pay scale. And yet I can't think of any other business or profession that could operate without them. So why isn't this job valued more than it is?

See, I'm not saying that the sheriff doesn't have a difficult job. But he chose it. It took time and effort and money to get elected, and he didn't have to do that. And I don't know that what he does on a daily basis is any more dangerous or necessary than what the deputies do in their jobs, but I'm pretty sure they didn't get a pay raise.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 1 month ago

The manner in which this entire issue was handled was deplorable. I hope they enjoy their raises, until the next election. At which time they are back at their regular full time jobs, and can no longer screw the hard working taxpayers of Douglas County. This was the most unethical thing I have ever seen in my life. Next year they will be raising taxes, again, to pay for their raises, which should not have ever happened in the first place. I'm sure everybody will be running for public office next election, especially for county commissioner. Where else can you double your salary for a part time job any time you want to. They will have to answer for this, perhaps not on earth, but at the day of judgement. Thank you, Lynn

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