HOLLYWOOD, Md. (March 5, 2020)—Sheriff's office deputies got a major salary increase March 2 when the Commissioners of St. Mary's County approved a new pay scale that put an extra $3.4 million towards their compensation.
Catherine Pratson, director of the county's Human Resources section, told commissioners this amounted to an 18 percent pay raise for sworn law enforcement officers here.
In December Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron requested a salary scale increase for deputies to meet the pay parity compared with Charles County deputies and Maryland State Police.
The commissioners on a split vote initially denied the request but signaled they would take up the issue once again after seeing firmer fiscal 2021 budget projections.
At the time, commissioners who voted against it were criticized for not doing enough to retain deputies with better pay; in November commissioners approved an 11 percent pay increase for county correctional officers working at the detention center.
The March 2nd vote was a unanimous one for commissioners.
The commissioners also approved a request from the 7th District Volunteer Rescue Squad to take to the fiscal 2021 budget public hearing in April a rescue tax increase proposal.
The volunteers based in Avenue want an increase from .011 cents to .30 cents per $100 of assessed value on properties, which is the maximum level allowed for the rescue tax increase.
The 7th District volunteers are the first rescue squad in the county to engage a paid contract crew to take over daytime service to the community.
The tax increase, squad leadership has said, would be used in part to pay for the daytime crew; volunteers who are available to answer calls during that time have been in short supply there.
"We're going to really have to consider, looking down the road establishing some pot of money for emergency services and professional services," said Commissioner Todd Morgan. "Like it or not, if the bill's going to come… we have to determine what that cost is going to be."
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