Senate president expects Blunt to sign bill raising deputy pay

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Missouri Legislature passed a bill May 29 that will bring better pay to county deputies, according to Senate President Pro Tem Mike Gibbons, R-Kirkwood, who was at the Bollinger County Courthouse on Monday.

As Gibbons presented Bollinger County Sheriff Terry Wiseman, Bollinger County chief deputy Leo McElrath and Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan with signed copies of House Bill 2224, he said the bill will go before Gov. Matt Blunt next month.

"I fully expect the governor to sign the bill," Gibbons said. The bill would take effect Aug. 28.

According to a Senate news release, House Bill 2224, sponsored by Rep. Kenny Jones, R-California, allows sheriffs to receive an additional $10 fee for processing any civil summons, writ, subpoena or other court order. This money will go into the newly created "Deputy Sheriff Salary Supplementation Fund," which will be used to bolster the pay of county deputies. A report submitted by the Senate Interim Committee on Funding for County Sheriff Offices recommended the measure.

"I appreciate the work of Senator Gibbons and the lawmakers who supported the bill," Wiseman said. "I'm glad deputies across the state will have better financial security, and I think this will help us at the sheriff's department to keep quality deputies employed for years to come."

The average salary for county deputies is just more than $22,000, with most taking home only about $15,500 per year, putting those with families below the federal poverty level, the news release read.

Gibbons said deputies deserve more.

"When you consider that Missouri is number one in the country for methamphetamine use, and the smaller, rural counties have the heaviest meth use, we have to be able to pay enough so that we can hire and keep quality deputies," he said.

Gibbons said Bollinger County deputies could see a $3,000 increase in the starting salary once funds begin to come in and are allocated. He said changes could come as soon as April or May.

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