Muscogee County Sheriff proposes filling vacancies; city council not willing to implement pay reform

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - In the second reading for the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office's recruitment and retention plan, the Columbus City Council withdrew the hearing and says they are not willing to implement a pay reform at this current time.

Sheriff Donna Tompkins asked for the reform to assist in filling over 30 vacancies in the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office and to increase the pay for Sheriff's deputies making it more comparable to what police officers earn.

"Even though the money was in my budget, what they were willing to do is say that it's your money and so you can give your employers bonuses. That's great for my current employees, but that does nothing to help me recruit future employees."

The city council says their concerns with the pay reform is using the emergency money before the budget is presented and also possibly violating the policy of voting without proper representation. They decided to wait until the budget process is presented to move forward with the decision.

"We have got to come to an understanding that public safety is important to every other aspect. It's not a Columbus, Georgia issue, it is a national issue," says Tompkins.

Sheriff Tompkins says that she will be back when the budget presentation is underway in a few months.

"You're going to see this smiling face again because we are not going away until we get what we need."

There is history between the Muscogee County Sheriff's Department and the City of Columbus. In 2014, former Sheriff John Darr sued the mayor over the budget. The budget and the new sheriff's plan will be presented at the City Services Center in the coming months.

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