From the Harford County Sheriff’s Office:
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler issued the following statement Monday afternoon, addressing the broken salary structure that is currently plaguing the agency and impacting all aspects of public safety operations. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office is now facing challenges related to hiring, retention and promotion, to a degree that is disconcerting at best and a threat to the delivery of the expected level and quality of law enforcement and correctional services at worst.
During his campaign, Sheriff Gahler made it clear that he understood Sheriff’s Office personnel at all levels and ranks do a very difficult job, one that requires great skill, extensive training, long suffering, and dedication of purpose. Year after year their jobs have only become increasingly more difficult and dangerous, yet, the salary system in place to compensate them has remained unfunded for years.
Recognizing the severity of the problem, the Sheriff commissioned a salary study in early 2016 to examine the issue and look for a solution to improve salary and the compression issues within the Office.
“As Sheriff, part of my duties are to ensure the compensation received by all of the Office’s personnel is fair and in accordance with their duties and responsibilities. Accordingly, my team and I have made addressing the shortcomings of the salary plan our top priority. To be clear, the existing Sheriff’s Office salary structure is broken from top to bottom and as a result, we are seeing retention issues with tenured personnel, a reduction of qualified applicants and low morale related to pay and compression of the pay scale.”
During the last year, the HCSO saw an increase in the number of deputies resigning prior to retirement. A common theme developed in exit interviews revealed salary as a primary reason for departure. In many instances, 10-year veterans of this agency are paid at a rate similar to those who have only two years of experience. The failure to attract and retain high quality deputies is not only an additional cost burden to the taxpayers, but has the potential to create a public safety crisis. We are now at the threshold of a critical tipping point.
The completed study was presented to Sheriff Gahler at the end of 2016. Of the study, the Sheriff remarked, “The completed Salary Study has provided for a path to address all employees’ salaries and I am hopeful that working together with the County Executive and County Council, we can begin the process of returning this Office to a level that is both competitive and comparable to our surrounding agencies.”
Sheriff Gahler has shared the results of the completed study with the County Executive, the Harford County Delegation, the Harford County Deputy Sheriff’s Union and the Harford County Correctional Association and a date to present the results to the County Council is still pending.
That still leaves one agency salary that cannot be modified through the Salary Study, that of the elected Office of Sheriff. Current legislation has been drafted that will set the salary of the Sheriff to that of the elected State’s Attorney (which is set to mirror that of a District Court Judge). Proposals such as these exist for jobs that are similar in function, scope, duty and/or responsibility. This tie of the Sheriff’s salary to the State’s Attorney’s salary has been a common practice for the past 20 years. Establishing a process that allows the salary of the Sheriff to remain at a market level will reduce the frequency of the need for the legislature to continually revisit this topic. Any changes that might occur to the Sheriff’s salary would not be effective until the next elected term in 2018.
In conclusion, the Sheriff offered, “In my past two years, serving as Harford County’s Sheriff, I have spoken many times concerning the broken pay plan at the HCSO. The independent salary study has not only validated what we feared to be true, but also indicated its shortcomings and has clearly identified the path to address the needs of the agency. The correction in structure and compensation identified in the study will positively impact issues pertaining to our hiring, retention, and promotion, providing for increased opportunities to ensure a sound, well qualified, and mission capable law enforcement agency positioned to continue providing quality public safety services to a growing community.”
To most people this is a non issue. Im well aware of hiring practices in Baltimore City and Harford County. The pay Harford County Deputies are making will force HC to hire just as Baltimore does. Watch how low the standards begin to drop. Citizens of HC, within the next few years you are gonna be in for a shock.
Hick Or E says
How about we defund that self-imposed pay raise for the County Council? Ought to be a few extra dollars we can put into a career Deputy’s pocket.
Hugh G. Rection says
I’m not an attorney but all the raises the county council, Barry and his boyfriend Billy gave themselves; under my interpretation is a violation of the laws established under the county charter.
Additionally, Barry says it’s all about money? Ponder these points!
A) To save money the county kept DPW at home during an Ice storm a few weeks ago: yet this week I have seen DPW out salting on overtime early Monday morning and this morning. Yet where I live in Joppa, we did not recieved 1 snowflake (how much in materials, Overtime, and wear n tear on equipment cost the county)
B) Barry turned over the solid waste division to MES to save money, yet MES has recieved several more millions in budgeted funds compared to when County ran, where is the savings, not to mention all the insurance claims and other cost from MES employees lack of knowledge on landfill operations. The learn as you go techniques don’t work for landfill operations because of environmental regulations (fines have been issued).
C) Our Children are suffering at schools because of the lack of employing teachers at competitive wages. One of my kids have had at least 1 new teacher every year since kindergarten (senior this year). The new teachers get their 1 year expiernce and jump ship in neighboring counties where they earned double and sometimes tripple…
D) Law Enforcement is underpaid for the jobs and risk that come with the job… I’m so tired of hearing people say they took the job knowing these risk… a 20 year veteran didn’t take the job expecting an Epidemic of cop haters and BLM rioters, the people that respect the police are the law abiding citizens not the cop haters.
I can keep going but I’m sure no-one of importance is reading anymore.
Glassman won’t do anything….it won’t make him any money or get him elected to congress!! Its widely known that behind closed doors he has laughed at the sheriff’s office and even teachers distress over attrition/manpowe and salaries….he is a politician…..always!!
The sheriff doesn’t say it s 143,000. 3rd highest in state. It will make him highest paid official in county. He s getting as greedy as union deputies.
True Blue says
Isn’t it the largest Sheriff’s Department in the state? After there last year I say make him #1 and his deputies too!
Greedy? I’d say you look at the issue and realize that it’s not greed but a broken promise made when deputies were hired. If this was a car dealer they would get charged for a bait and switch, if this was a private sector you would have a walkout or the business would fold, but deputies are supposed to just accept it. Doesn’t sound right and I don’t think anyone would accept this in their career.
It’s obvious that the council and exec don’t accept this idea since their benefits have been enhanced significantly over the last few years at the expense of all other employees. Again, doesn’t sound right now does it.
Harford Resident says
But I thought the Deputies are leaving to go to other, higher paid jurisdictions?
Just the Facts says
Some are leaving for higher pay. But guys with tenure don’t have that luxury.
GOP Voter says
Let’s see…Glassman, Boniface, Cassilly, the entire county council all sneak their raises through and Sheriff Gahler does a press release to announce his and what he is pursuing for the deputies. Gahler continues to be a class act!
Happy to be retired says
I’m one of those deputy’s who left the agency.
1) this administration is vindictive
2) no pay raises for numerous years
3) the sheriff looks at you as a body and easily replaceable
4) administration gave them huge pay raises and new loaded SUV’s
I can go on and on with this administration.
Give these deputies the raise they deserve. I’m so happy being retired. God bless them and be safe my brothers and sisters.
I will say that it looks like the Sheriff is using the deputy’s lack of raises as an excuse to get himself a raise at the same time. Because apparently 120,000.00 isn’t already enough of a salary. Jesse Bane needs to come back.
Know Your FAQS says
n) Harford County.-
(1) (i) The Sheriff of Harford County shall receive a salary of:
1. $90,000 in 2004; and
2. $98,500 commencing January 1, 2007, thereafter to be adjusted annually on July 1 in accordance with subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph.
(ii) 1. On and after July 1, 2007, the annual salary of the Sheriff of Harford County shall be adjusted annually to reflect the annual change in the “Consumer Price Index” for “All urban consumers” for the expenditure category “All items not seasonally adjusted”, and for all regions. The Annual Consumer Price Index for the period ending each December, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, shall be used to adjust the annual salary of the Sheriff of Harford County while in office.
Nick Paros says
History tells us what happens when you don’t keep your promises to teachers,police, and fire services. Just ask Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. It may be time for a new County Executive, or at least a honest conversation and reality check?