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December 07, 2008 11:46 PM UTC

Pay Cuts Force Jeffco Sheriff Staff Out the Door

  • 1 Comments
  • by: Skyler

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will be losing 65 employees this year alone, reports the Denver Post:

A reduced county pension contribution coupled with lower-than- market pay has Jefferson County sheriff’s employees heading for the door.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is on track this year to lose 65 of its more than 700 employees – most of them sworn officers. Many will go to departments in Denver, Aurora, Commerce City and Adams County.

“It’s a competitive market right now,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink.

Mink recently told county commissioners: “It will be pretty hard to maintain our level of service at some point.” [Pols Emphasis]



Mink and his commanders blame a retirement program that was behind other agencies’ offerings. In January, it lost more ground when the county reduced its match for the defined contribution plan – which works as a 401(k) plan – from 10 percent to 8 percent.

Arvada, Boulder, Commerce City, Littleton and Westminster all contribute 10 percent; Thornton, 9 percent; Aurora, 10.5 percent; and Golden, 13 percent.

Jefferson County not only hasn’t kept up, “They’re going in the wrong direction,” said Don Christensen, executive director of County Sheriffs of Colorado. [Pols Emphasis]

Jefferson County? Going in a wrong direction? No. That certainly hasn’t happened before.

The Post continues:

Jefferson County deputy pay is falling behind, the command staff says. A sheriff’s survey of 15 metro-area law enforcement agencies in January found the county had slipped.

A Jefferson County deputy on the job for a year earns $48,000 while a Denver officer with the same experience earns $51,576. The gap widens with more years of service.

The Jefferson County commanders told county commissioners the answer to the deputy drain is to restore the 2 percent pension match.

“That would make the biggest statement and have the greatest impact immediately,” Undersheriff Ray Fleer said.

Mink supports a separate retirement system for sworn officers. Cost: $740,000 a year.

This is just another in a long line of Jefferson County’s residents taking a hit because of poor leadership decisions on behalf of the county. It’s interesting to note that the County has spent nearly $500,000 dollars in legal fees alone, defending its own elected officials. Of course, that’s not all our tax dollars are used for here in Jefferson County.

With a new board taking office come January still dominated by the policies of Kevin McCasky and a 2-1 Republican vote on the Board of Commissioners, there’s little hope in sight for Jeffco or its residents. Note McCasky’s quote in the Post, where he takes the snap and quickly punts:

Commissioner Kevin McCasky said he’s confident “our budget folks and the Sheriff’s Office can work something out.”

Yeah, we’d hate for you to have to make a decision on something important.

But hey, at least we’re not El Paso.  

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