WTVM Editorial 5-23-19: Pay Raises Worth It

WTVM Editorial 5-23-19: Pay Raises Worth It

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - With the country at large currently enjoying 3.6% unemployment, the lowest rate since 1969, finding qualified workers is getting tougher.

And that’s especially true for the city and county consolidated government, which needs to hire new Columbus police officers and Muscogee County deputies.

The vacancies are becoming acute. Muscogee County Sheriff Donna Tompkins says she needs to hire 34 deputies right now.

And her recruiting is not made any easier by the fact that a Columbus police officer’s starting pay is already 2.5% higher than the starting pay for a sheriff’s deputy.

Once a deputy is recruited, retaining that trained employee is also difficult.

Sheriff Tompkins cites “pay compression,” for keeping mid-level position salaries relatively flat, while the starting pay for deputies has increased.

Losing talented deputies because their pay is not competitive will cost us much more in the long run.

The sheriff wants $68,000 to give her sergeants, captains and lieutenants a modest 2.5% pay raise to keep them on the job.

We think that’s a smart idea. Over the course of a year, $68,000 would be a small price to pay to keep those experienced deputies.

It’s much more costly to deal with constant personnel turnover and recruitment. Anyone who runs a business knows that.

The Columbus Police Department needs officers, too, so Mayor Skip Henderson set up a job fair for June 7th to help the department fill some of their positions.

We hope the job fair is a big success, but both the city and county need law enforcement applicants right now.

If anyone out there is looking for a career helping people and making a difference in the community, law enforcement might just be the right job for you.

Any time a career category is in a constant hiring mode, that’s the field to get into.

And once you get into law enforcement, taxpayers need to support the salaries that will keep you employed and fulfilled in the very challenging and necessary job of first responder.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings an editorial a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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