Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Personnel shortage always a problem

Project: Reader Reaction

Curry County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a pay increase for sheriff’s deputies. Sheriff Roger Hatcher asked commissioners to consider the issue, citing concerns the deputies would leave the county to fill city positions. City police received a raise earlier this month.

Prior to Tuesday’s approval, a Project: Reader Reaction question asked if the county should approve the raises.

Some responses:

“Is the question ‘Should we Increase sheriff’s pay when we have such huge expenses for the jail?’ Well no, of course not. We wouldn’t want to keep deputies and increase their ability to catch more people that might actually end up occupying the jail. That would increase our jail-budget expenses even more. This seems like a vicious cycle to me.

“But IF we could just leave it the same and maybe even reduce the number of deputies, and then they catch fewer criminals, and the ones already in jail serve their terms and get out, then our jail-budget problems are over. We are always looking for the simple solutions aren’t we? This one sure sounds simple to me.”

— Carolyn Spence

“... With both city and county law agencies having a problem hiring good personnel, has the idea of combining city and county into one agency (been discussed)? I believe this has been done in other areas of the U.S. This could quite possibly result in solving some of the budget crunches, and help alleviate some of the shortage of personnel.”

— H.M. Richards

“The Curry County Commissioners never should comply with the demands of ultimatums, or thinly veiled threats, which border on extortion.”

— Harold Burris

“Most definitely they should; after all they do protect us too. However, let me say that after reading a couple of articles in the CNJ about where the money comes from, here is a suggestion:

“As a property owner in the city and being taxed by the city commission to come up with monies for the police and firefighters and city workers, I must say that this is completely unfair to us. This is a city that is growing and there are a lot more people here who are not property owners that require this protection as well. ... All monies for raises should come from everyone, not just property owners. The city and the county should make an adjustment to the tax imposed on the buying public. A tax of 1 cent or even 2 cents on the dollar should be made available for the city/county coffers and this should appease all who enjoy the services of city and county employees.”

— Gerald Majewski

“The same reasoning should apply to the sheriff’s officers as it does to the police. Once again, the jail should be the focus for commissioners. One of the many things they should tackle is the grave shortage of public defenders. Speedier trials will eliminate much of the overcrowding. There’s no reason that it should take months for misdemeanor infractions to be tried.”

— John Frey

“The best way for the sheriff’s department to lose its deputies is to not give them a pay raise. ... There were many valid points made the last couple of weeks, including not building the events center. Another valid point is how do you vote for a pay raise without knowing where the money will come from? ... Do all city employees deserve a pay raise? YES! Let’s get the people responsible to figure out where the money is coming from.”

— Jeff Greene

“I can certainly understand why the sheriff’s department wants a raise and I think they should get one. I stand with Mr. Hatcher in voting for a raise for the deputies. The county commissioners can probably take a 5 percent cut in pay to give to the sheriff’s department and make everyone happy until such time that the commissioners decide they can give a larger raise to the sheriff’s department. If the deputies go over to the city police, the city will have to pay the newly won raise to them anyway, so let’s pay them like we do the police and worry about the jail issues later. The jail issues should take second place to our deputies getting what they deserve.”

— Ardyth Elms