Commission grants PA's investigator a pay raise

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A reluctant Cape Girardeau County Commission on Monday agreed to give John Volkerding, the investigator for the prosecuting attorney's office, the same pay raise provided to sheriff's deputies this year.

Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle had sought the raise -- $645 a month -- to keep Volkerding's pay equal to the salaries of lieutenants in the sheriff's department. All commissioned officers in the sheriff's office received a raise of at least $6,392 on Jan. 1 as a result of a new half-cent sales tax approved in August.

Volkerding is not part of the sheriff's department, but he holds a commission as a deputy from the sheriff's office. Its that status that troubled Commissioner Larry Bock and Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones before they voted to give him the raise.

"We voted on the tax to improve roads and to pay the sheriff's deputies," Bock said. "Are we going against that now? He is not an employee of the sheriff's department and that is what bothers me."

Commissioner Jay Purcell argued that the raise will keep the job's salary competitive with area law enforcement agencies. Sheriff John Jordan has agreed to allow the additional pay to be taken from the portion of the new tax earmarked for his department, Purcell said.

The raise shouldn't be seen as breaking the promise made to voters, Purcell said. "As long as we do everything we promised, as long as we fulfill the promises made, I would say this is above and beyond that."

Deputies were granted the pay raise effective Jan. 1 but waited until last month before it appeared on their paychecks. Deputies will receive a check for the back-pay portion by July.

Under the commission's actions Monday, Volkerding's annual pay would be $45,927, up from $38,185. He will receive the raise with the paychecks to be issued at the end of the month and a back-pay check for the raise dating to Jan. 1 when those checks are issued to deputies.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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