MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Imagine if your boss would give you a 34% pay raise. That’s what is being proposed by a county commissioner for the Shelby County mayor and the sheriff, but some are saying not so fast.
At a time when many workers have only seen small to modest pay raises in recent years, a massive pay hike for the sheriff and mayor of Shelby County could be on the horizon, if Commissioner Edmund Ford Junior has his way.
“I believe our sheriff has done a remarkable job with what he’s done,” he said.
Commissioner Ford is proposing the salary of the sheriff go from about $148,000 to $199,500 a year. That’s a 34% increase.
Ford says the sheriff’s current pay is not equal to others in law enforcement.
“When you look at what the Memphis police chief makes and the head of security for Shelby County Schools, the sheriff comes in third again,” he said.
The salaries of the sheriff and mayor are connected based on the Shelby County Charter. It requires that the sheriff’s pay be equal to at least 80% but no more than 95% of the county mayor’s pay.
This means the mayor’s salary would increase from $155,000 to $210,000 annually.
But not everyone is ready to sign off on this pay increase just yet.
“It’s a tough time to be increasing salaries given all the lack and the need and issues of the past couple of years of dealing with COVID-19 and so I’m not willing at this point to sign off on it and I’m not willing to just write it off,” Commissioner Van Turner said. “Obviously, putting it out there for discussion is not a bad thing. Let’s see what the people have to say and what the commissioners have to say.”
Shelby County Commissioner Mark Billingsley told WREG “I need to hear more about the issue. However, I would consider a pay increase specifically for the sheriff. He is woefully under the market value and public safety should be a top priority.”
The pay raise proposal would have to undergo three readings and receive the support of nine commissioners.