Updated:CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. —
The Cherokee County sheriff says he’s losing experienced deputies to other agencies willing to pay more.
Sheriff Roger Garrison told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh the loss of manpower hurts, but county taxpayers are spending thousands of dollars to train deputies who are leaving for other departments.
“Five and six years of no raises with their insurance rates rising, they simply can't feed their families anymore," Garrison said. "All of our start-up cities like Milton, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs Brookhaven are simply coming and cherry picking our very best employees."
Garrison said they spend a minimum of $50,000 to train deputies but once they get the experience they leave for higher paying jobs.
Some cities have an average starting pay that’s $10,000 more than Cherokee County, according to Garrison.
Last year was the first time Cherokee County deputies received a pay raise in five years.
The starting salary is now $35,000. A proposed county budget may lead to a 2 percent increase, but the sheriff says that is not enough.
“Compared to the market that we’re trying to compete in, we’re about 17 percent below,” Garrison said.
It’s stretching his staff thin.
“We have to see them go, but don’t blame one of them, because certainly they have to take care of their families,” Garrison said.
County budget hearings are set to begin next week. The county manager has not responded to Kavanaugh’s request for a comment.