The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Over the next few months, nearly 60 Ottawa County sheriff’s deputies will receive 3 percent pay hikes.

The raises, which are staggered among three divisions in the law enforcement department, were negotiated as part of a wage re-opener clause in the third year of the union’s collective bargaining contract.

“They didn’t receive any raises the first two years of the contract,” Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick said. “They voted for that.”

According to Ottawa County Commissioners meeting records, the payroll changes approved mid-month for members of the Fraternal Order of Police/Ohio Labor Council Union will occur as follows:

- Effective Oct. 1, 2013 for dispatchers

- Effective Oct. 1, 2013 for correction corporals, officers and sergeants

- Effective Jan. 1, 2014 for road deputies and detectives

Ottawa County’s operating budget for 2013 is about $13.5 million. The sheriff’s office receives the largest share of general fund monies - close to $4.5 million this year. Deputies are staffed 24 hours a day on the road and in the county detention facility at the courthouse and at the Ottawa County Misdemeanor Jail housed at the city/county building on East Perry Street.

“I’d like to thank the commissioners who voted for the raises,” the sheriff said.

His administrative staff members received their first raises in five years in early July. They are among the employees under the umbrella of the county commissioners. Those raises came after a long fought campaign by prosecutor Mark Mulligan on behalf of the staff starting in 2012.

The commissioners had put off raises over the years, contending that finances in the wake of the recession weren’t strong enough to handle the extra costs. Mulligan countered that employees had been diligent about cost-cutting measures and services consolidation to help the county stay fiscally fit. He also said morale suffered as each year passed and commissioners turned down wage increase proposals.

Commissioners finally relented this spring when they approved pay raises scheduled to begin in July.

But the vote was not unanimous.

Commissioners Jodi Regal and Jim Sass approved those earlier raises. Steve Arndt said no.

The deputies’ pay raise vote played out the same this month.

Arndt said earlier this year he could not justify approving any pay raises given the county’s current state of affairs. He was particularly concerned about a $1 million deficit looming by year’s end in the county’s self-insured healthcare program for employees.

Commissioners hired a consulting firm to evaluate the health program and devise options to help the faltering health care program. That team is still working.

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