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Raises approved

WINDSOR – Part-time deputies in the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office will be receiving a pay raise.

Appearing before the monthly meeting of the Bertie County Board of Commissioners, Sheriff John Holley requested the increase for his part-time deputies in keeping with the pay scale of some of the area’s other security and law enforcement agencies.

“I’ve checked around all the local agencies and they are at $15 an hour,” Holley stated. “I’m hoping that the Commissioners will see fit to move part-time Bertie County Sheriff’s officers up to $15 an hour.”

Currently, Bertie part-time deputies make $12 an hour.

County Manager Scott Sauer informed the board that the salary increase could be absorbed within the budget due to a number of vacancies that had not as yet been filled.

Commission chairman Ronald D. “Ron” Wesson cited security employees at Vidant Bertie Hospital are making $35 hour.

“Look at who we’re competing with,” he implored. “Even at $15 it’s still going to make it difficult to compete.”

Wesson said the county is in the process of doing an across the board salary study of all county positions.

“We’ve been quite visible in what we’ve been able to do in working with the sheriff and his staff to see where we are as a county,” Wesson said.

The chairman then called for a vote and Commissioner Stewart White made a motion to approve the $3 per hour increase for the part-time Sheriff’s Office employees and it was seconded by Commissioner Ernestine “Byrd” Bazemore.

The Commissioners’ vote on the increase was unanimous.

“Make sure that your deputies know just how much we value their services,” Wesson concluded.

Holley concluded his presentation before the Board with an update on the relocation of some of the Sheriff’s personnel, magistrate, as well as other law enforcement services to the former Bertie County Schools’ Central Office and Board of Education building location at 222 County Farm Road. The county purchased the building from the school system earlier and hopes to have the Sheriff’s Office occupy it sometime early in 2016.

“Overall where the Sheriff’s Office employees, staff, communications, we’re fine with that,” Holley reported. “We’re just trying to make sure we get the magistrate into a good area.”

Holley acknowledged that most of the move has been done with minimal reconstruction, but he pointed out that he wants to have an additional fingerprint machine installed in the rear of the building to complement the one already in use in the front of the building.

“This is where we process people,” Holley added, “and we’re having problem with bringing people from Bertie Correctional and (also) people waiting to be fingerprinted for concealed (handgun permit).  I wouldn’t want my wife in there at that time; but we’re running into that problem, so this would take care of (the problem). With two fingerprint machines we could have one in the rear where we could process, and one in the front where you could actually stop by for concealed handgun.”

Wesson asked once more about the magistrates’ location within the new building plans; whereupon Holley said 6th District Chief Judge Brenda Branch is currently working with the county’s magistrates.

“What I’m suggesting is that perhaps we take you out of that discussion,” said Wesson. “We know what your interests are but perhaps we need to have that discussion with the judges and the magistrates. We’ll let them know we’ll do everything we can to accommodate them in the space that we have designated, but we want to make sure that your needs are also met.”

Commission vice-chair Tammy Lee inquired as to when the fiber-optic communication lines would be installed and Sauer reported it had begun a week prior with completion expected in January or February of next year.

Lee also asked about the county’s contract for the electronic monitoring system and County Attorney Lloyd Smith said he was still in communication with the company, but had not received word back.