The Riverbank City Council considered a pay raise and change in the contract with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department that would affect deputies serving as part of Riverbank Police Services.
The item came before the council at its Tuesday, Feb. 12, meeting, as a response to a letter from the county outlining efforts to create an additional pay grade for its deputies.
The letter suggested the city revise its contract to take the change into account, and said it was willing to split the pay increase.
The letter described changes the Board of Supervisors was planning to implement in the classification and compensation structure within the Sheriff’s Department.
It said that, “While a number of positions are affected, the primary driver for the change was relating to the Sheriff Deputy position.”
The department, the letter indicated, has struggled much like many law enforcement agencies in the San Joaquin Valley during and after the recession in “attracting and retaining” sworn deputies.
The letter said that, “In order to address these staffing concerns, the Board considered and approved an additional deputy classification, Deputy Sheriff II.”
Before this action, there was no journey level classification above the entry level Deputy Sheriff I position. The Deputy Sheriff II position will be compensated 10 percent above the entry level Deputy I position.
“In order to qualify for the Deputy Sheriff II position the deputy must have a minimum of two years’ experience as well as completing four core training courses. It is anticipated that the Deputy Sheriff II classification will allow Stanislaus County to be more competitive in retaining and attracting law enforcement officers,” the letter continued.
The county’s CEO indicated in his letter that the board realized that “these unexpected costs may present a financial burden to contract cities, so the county has proposed to cover 50 percent of the increase in cost” for the remainder of the law enforcement contract (estimated to be $55,783 in FY 2018-19 and $114,082.50 in FY 2019-20).
In exchange for splitting the increase with the city, the county has requested “additional flexibility in reassigning staff that normally work exclusively with the city to work in unincorporated areas, when necessary, to ensure staffing levels address critical needs throughout the county.”
During the discussion, it was pointed out that the county is expecting there to be only a small number of times where the Sheriff will need to pull assigned deputies away from Riverbank patrols. And the city would not be paying the deputies while they are so assigned.
Also in discussion, the council recognized the need to improve pay levels for deputies, ultimately accepting the county’s offer to split the increase for the time being.
Mayor Richard O’Brien noted that the increase would need to be taken into account during future budget discussions, with probably increases expected in upcoming developer’s service fees.