Dawson County law enforcement personnel are underpaid and resigning, according to Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle.
In Thursday afternoons county commissioner meeting, Carlisle asked the board to transfer $95,000 from the departments capital improvement budget to the salary budget in an attempt to retain current personnel.
Im going to pay my long term, experienced employees, Carlisle said. What Im trying to do is combat other counties who are actively recruiting my people. Theyre recruiting them because theyre already experienced and trained, and Im losing them.
In the last seven years, 117 employees left the Sheriffs Office by resignation, termination or medical issues.
Ninety-six resigned to take better paying jobs in other counties, cities and police departments, Carlisle said. It costs a minimum $8,000 to replace those employees. Were spending close to $936,000 in the last seven years in hiring and training.
Eighteen individuals were separated for cause and three went out under a new medical contract, according to the sheriff.
Carlisle asked the Georgia Sheriffs Association to review his department and its staffing. The result? The Dawson County Sheriffs Office is 39 positions shy of where it should be, including 10 positions that cannot be filled as they are frozen.
The $95,000 would raise current employees to competitive salaries and would be retroactive July 1. Originally the funds were designated for patrol cars.
I cant fill positions because I cant compete with the salaries from other counties, Carlisle said. Theres no use in me buying patrol cars if I cant fill the seat.
The remaining $38,000 would be used to lease/purchase three fully-equipped vehicles, which would be paid off when SPLOST VI funding become available. Funds from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax will be sent to the county starting in August. Voters approved extending the 1-cent sales tax in November 2014 for another six years.
Carlisle stressed the urgency of the salary-related predicament.
When the new developments come in off 400, Im gonna be further behind the ball, he said. So Ive got to do something now to keep the experienced and trained employees Ive got. Were looking to help these employees.
The board will vote on the matter Thursday, July 16th at 6 p.m. in the Assembly Room of the Dawson County Government Center, 25 Justice Way, Dawsonville.