Volusia County, Florida - After months of negotiations between Volusia County and the union that represents VCSO deputies, the Volusia County Council on Thursday approved a 2017-2020 labor agreement that will raise minimum pay for deputies and sergeants and solve significant pay compression issues in the agency.
The agreement was approved in a unanimous 7-0 vote that was attended by Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and local International Union of Police Associations president Sgt. Brodie Hughes, who joined the council and county administration in praising the deal.
“I think what we did here really showed the employees how valued they are,” Sheriff Chitwood said, adding that prospects from other agencies are already looking to join VCSO in light of the new pay structure. “This is going to be a huge score for us when it comes to recruitment and retention.”
“You saw the issues here, you gave direction and we moved forward with a contract that we feel is going to change the Sheriff’s Office in a way that we can retain our people and recruit new deputies,” Sgt. Hughes told the council. “For that, I really appreciate your hard work and what you put into it.”
The new agreement provides three consecutive yearly increases in the minimum pay range for deputies – 4 percent each year in 2018, 2019 and 2020. That means the new minimum hourly pay rates for deputies ($17.66) and sergeants ($23.07) in 2017-18 are set to increase to $19.10 and $24.95, respectively, by fiscal year 2019-20.
It also provides increases by way of a formula that addresses pay compression issues that developed over time. The formula results in some deputies receiving varying pay increases ranging from 3 to 20 percent and above. In addition to those increases, the contract provides a retroactive 3 percent deputy pay increase for fiscal year 2016-17 – when no agreement was in place, and deputies missed out on raises granted to other county employees. Those retroactive lump-sum payments will show up in deputies’ Jan. 26 paychecks.
County Manager Jim Dinneen said the deal was a win for all involved: “We want to give stability, and I think that is really important in this economy – that we know we are going to have a contract for three more years… I really appreciate the cooperation of the union, and I appreciate all the work from the Sheriff’s Office.”
The County Council agenda item that includes the agreement is available at https://vcservices.vcgov.org/agenda/agendas/20171221/Item-02-AI0000031048.pdf
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