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Fulton Co. Sheriff’s deputies get pay raise as deterrent to leave for other agencies

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FULTON COUNTY, N.Y. (WRGB) - Sheriff Richard Giardino has spent the past few months trying to give his deputies a reason to stick around. He says most deputies spend only a few years there before leaving for to another agency.

"It's easier for another agency to take them because they don't have to spend enough money or time to train them,” Giardino said.

Giardino just settled a union contract for the years 2012-2016. The county will pay each current deputy a lump sum to make up for lost pay increases during that four-year span. The amount is a percentage of each employee’s pay, and it varies based on the year, along with the title and experience of the employee.

“I think it restored some trust that was gone after five and a half years, and I think it allowed the county understand that our guys and women have the same responsibility as other police agencies,” Giardino said.

Giardino says the latest contract settlement gives all new deputies a pay raise from $37,830 to $41,757 in their first year. That increases to $48,957 by their third year.

A rookie deputy at the nearby Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office has a staring pay of $52,068. Giardino says that's more than his deputies make after three years on the force.

"Some of the road patrol deputies in Saratoga are making more than our supervisors here,” says investigator Keith Manners.

Manners, who is also the deputies’ union president, has had to juggle several duties. He says there aren't as many deputies available to fill out their overtime details. He says that also may be the result of turnover rates.

"If we don't staff these overtime details then we have a chance at losing the grants that pay for them," Manners said.

The county is still ironing out the contracts for 2017 and 2018. County Administrative Officer Jon Stead declined to do an interview about this story, citing ongoing negotiation.

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