41 road patrol deputies left the Monroe County Sheriff’s office last August to keep from losing their benefits. Now, back in negotiations with the county again, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Union says they’re facing another uphill battle.
“We are the lowest paid law enforcement agency in Monroe County with the poorest benefits and with healthcare into retirement,” said John Auberger, union president.
In 2016, a deputy for MCSO made on average $68,000, the lowest paid police department by, minimum 7 percent. Brighton police, a smaller department in size, made nearly $20,000 more. Auberger says, because of the pay differential, many deputies are looking for work outside the sheriff’s office.
“We are now also losing deputies to town and city police departments because their pay and benefits are significantly higher,” said Auberger.
Brayton Connard, who leads negotiations with the sheriff’s deputies for the county, acknowledges that negotiations have been difficult.
“You can’t always pay employees what they’re worth. You can only pay employees with the revenue you have. They’re the preeminent law enforcement agency. They are far and away the best, but we can’t afford to pay them as the best though,” said Connard.
Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn, whose thirty percent, county approved raise, kicked in this year, says he does believe his deputies should be paid comparably to other departments of its size.
“As far as compensation goes that’s up to the county but I want them to be paid because we have to compete and we have morale issues with people wanting to work in this organization,” said O’Flynn.
Those morale issues, Auberger says are going to continue to affect public safety, with both the DWI and traffic enforcement units down to a single deputy per shift.