Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube asked commissioners for $3 million Thursday so he can increase his employee’s entry-level salaries to bring them to more competitive levels in the next year.
The money would help the sheriff's office to match beginning salaries of other area agencies based on a 2011 survey, conducted by the sheriff’s office and the Management Advisory Group, Inc., a salary and compensation consultant.
The survey said Manatee Sheriff's employees were 7% behind the minimum pay of the ranges, based on 70 jobs reviewed.
In a 2013 comparison showing salaries of 15 agencies, Manatee County was last at $38,498 net salary, according to documents presented by Tom Salisbury, Sheriff’s Office comptroller, and Carolyn Long of the consulting group.
Steube also said he would also like to hire at least 20 deputies a year until his workforce reaches staffing comparable to others in the region.
Last year, the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners gave Steube $3.2 million to deal with pay compression, when more experienced workers with extra training make the same as entry-level employees.
Commissioners seemed sympathetic to Steube’s plea.
“"How far can you stretch the rubber band before it breaks?" said Vanessa Baugh, District 5 commissioner.
County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said commissioners would see a tentative budget for next year at the end of May so they can review and approve it in June.