TUCSON, Ariz. - Deputies finally heard the words they were waiting for – they’ve been grossly underpaid for years.
That’s the conclusion of the Pima County Law Enforcement Merit System Council – or LEMSC.
After studying Arizona’s 7 largest counties, the council confirmed Pima County deputies pay is at the bottom of the pay scale.
It’s been a pervasive problem that Sheriff Mark Napier has said led to eroding morale and staffing shortages within the department. Napier vowed before he took office to fix. It. More than a year later, his efforts set up a legal fight, and an unprecedented challenge of authority and dissension in the ranks. After losing a battle with the union over the sheriff’s proposed compensation plan months ago, Napier told his staff he suspended his efforts to fix the play plan and left that task up to the Board of Supervisors.
KGUN9 reached out to Sheriff Mark Napier, who tells us that “all deputies and corrections officers are receiving a raise this year. Many will receive greater than 10%. With the pay increase this year, our deputies will be comparable to TPD.”
But the largest union, PCDSA, disputes Napier’s statement. Union leaders say experienced deputies are left out of the raises.
KGUN9 has examined Pima County’s pay compensation plan, which shows only 40 of the 412 deputies (less than 10%) received a 12.7% pay raise, as of July 1st. 26 deputies received 7.4% and 18 received 4.8%. The increases bring the 84 deputies to a new hourly rate of $23.50. The union says those deputies account for 20% of the entire department and have less than 3 to 4 years on the force.
The remaining more experienced deputies received 2.5% raises, the same amount the Board of Supervisors doled out to all Pima County employees.
Union leaders say, “Our 8-year to 12-year deputies that should have been at the top end of the range will only be receiving 7%” in 2019.
It’s a similar scenario for the Pima County corrections officers.