By Tammy Gray
“My sergeants don’t even make that much,” Navajo County Sheriff KC Clark said in response to an article in the March 7 edition of The Tribune-News reporting that the average salary for a sheriff’s office deputy is $47,170.
Clark explained that the vast majority of his deputies make $37,736, which is the bottom of the pay scale. He noted that a few deputies who have been with the county for many years make slightly more.
“Most of the county employees have not had a raise in more than eight years,” Clark remarked.
The data used by The Tribune-News came from the Arizona Association of Counties 2014 Arizona County Government Salary and Benefit Survey. The survey notes that the pay scale for Navajo County sheriff deputies is $37,736-$56,604. It also notes that the information for the deputies’ salaries was not supplied directly by the county. It does not make such a notation for most other salaries included in the survey, including those of the top officials.
With salaries at $37,736, the county ranks second to last among all counties in the state for deputy pay rates, not fifth, according to the survey.
Clark pointed out that he has been advocating for several years for an increase in deputy pay, and it is his top priority for the upcoming fiscal year. According to the sheriff, he regularly loses trained deputies and staff members to neighboring agencies that offer higher salaries. The attrition is expensive to the county due to the time and expense involved in training new officers.
According to the survey, Pima County has the highest average pay rate for deputies at $61,632 and Apache County has the lowest rate at $34,303, although the information was not supplied directly by either of those counties for the survey. Neighboring Coconino County offers an annual average salary of $47,282 to its deputies, and according to the survey, that information was supplied by the county.
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By Tammy Gray