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Commission approves request for wage increase for Sheriff’s Office


Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk discussed his plan to give all personnel at the Sheriff’s Office a $1 per hour wage increase: Patrol, Corrections, Dispatch, Administration, Cook, and Bret Mills.
He said the issue of a pay raise has been discussed the last couple of years in budget meetings. He understands there’s only a certain amount of money in the county budget. He has looked within the department to find the money for a wage increase. He has done away with the lieutenant position. “There is a hostile environment right now for cops. No one wants to be a cop any more. The state stripped the retirement from after 20 years you could retire with 50 percent of your income, to after 25 years you could retire with only 35 percent of your income. It used to be 20 people would apply for an open position, now we get maybe five or six. Of those, there’s only one or two we could hire. Carbon County starts their new deputies out at $17.03 per hour. After six months they go to $18.05. After one year they go to $19.20 and after 10 years it’s $25 and they top out at $28. It’s the same in Millard County. One of our deputies last year was making $17 and he went to the highway patrol and started out at $25. After 20 years with us Deputy Bell is making $19.64. It’s a crying shame. After 36 years Blake Gardner is making $21.64. Two of our officers are being recruited right now.
“There’s a crisis coming. We’ve started a class at Emery High on law enforcement. Any results from that class will be five years down the road. Our officers are putting their lives on the line. They have gone above and beyond for this county. We have great men and women who have stepped up to be public servants. I’m asking you allow us to use our budget to take care of these guys,” said Sheriff Funk.
Sheriff Funk said every time they lose an officer it puts them a year behind. It takes time to train an officer. If that officer leaves all that time, money and training starts over on a new officer.
Sheriff Funk believes most people in the county are supportive of the sheriff’s office, but he does believe the sentiment in the country has emboldened people. An Emery County officer was assaulted the other day and required stitches.
Commissioner Keith Brady said they need to make sure the money is in there for a raise along with overtime and benefits.
County employees recently received a 3 percent cost of living increase.
Capt. Kyle Ekker said he agrees with the sheriff 100 percent the deputies need a raise. He’s been with the office for 31 years. Rookies need time to adjust, The time for back-up in Emery County is 15-20 minutes. In Green River, the back-up guy is home in bed. “We need to keep people here and keep families here. I fully support the sheriff and the effort he’s been putting into this.”
Commissioner Sitterud said he appreciates what the sheriff’s office does and if it’s in the budget he said a $1 per hour raise should be given along with the 3 percent cost of living raise.
The commission approved the raise along with the 3 percent cost of living increase.
The Emery County Commission was presented with a check from the Division of Wildlife Resources. Chris Wood said this payment is for the land the DWR owns in Emery County including the Huntington Game Farm, the upper San Rafael management area and the Hatt’s ranch management area. They also manage the land surrounding Desert Lake. The PILT payment was for $2,610.71. The money for PILT payments come from hunting and fishing license sales.
Woods gave an update of projects the DWR has been working on. They released pheasants on the division property in Emery County and statewide. These adult birds help create a better hunting experience so more people can harvest birds. Chukkars were also released around guzzlers. Deer were released at Joe’s Valley. There were 101 deer released last year and 123 this year. The DWR asked to be notified if any of these deer become problems. There are a lot of deer living in Ferron and eating hay stacks. Wood said they can tranquilize problem deer and move to higher elevations.
The DWR is working with BYU on a migration study of the deer to gather data and the deer have been fitted with GPS collars so their patterns can be followed. Habitat restoration projects are ongoing as are the fish projects to reintroduce Colorado cutthroat in the Ferron drainage. They will re-treat the main stem of the Ferron Creek and restock it this year.
The Pre-Construction Notification for Army Corps of Engineers for the Cottonwood Creek Project-Orangeville project section was approved. The board approved the NRCS ADS-78 Assurances Relating to Real Property for the Cottonwood Creek Project near XTO to protect Cottonwood Creek Irrigation Companies 63′ water pipeline.
A cell phone stipend for Commissioner Lynn Sitterud was approved.
An agreement with Romeo Entertainment Group to procure an act for the Emery County Fair Concert was approved.
A $100 discount towards a family pass at the Emery County Aquatic Center for all county employees was approved.
The county will be a cooperating agency with the BLM on the Old Spanish Trail National Historic Trail planning.
The annual EEO Report and Affirmative Action Plan was approved.
It was approved for the Travel Board to opt-in to the following programs offered by the Utah Office of Tourism through their marketing solutions company Adgenuity: Utah.com, Judd Films and Marc Piscotti Photography.
A reduction was approved for an ambulance bill for Terry Moreland.
The board approved a noncompete disclosure letter from Roxanne Jensen. She is the librarian at Castle Dale library. Her daughter is opening a consignment store in Huntington. People can bring in crafts and other items and the store will offer space to bring things in. Jensen will be having a spot in the store and will sell books and other items, but it will not compete with the libraries in any way.
Commissioner Brady said the county had a volunteer board training. He thanked all the volunteers on the boards in the county for the work they do. The state legislature is in session now and he wondered if there are any bills citizens are concerned about and if there are to contact the commissioners.
The board approved Carolyn Carrasco as a new member of the Emery County Libraries Board and Dixie Swasey and Tanie Worthen as new members of the Emery County Council on Aging and Nutrition Board.
A county credit card was approved for Commissioner Lynn Sitterud. Rod Player, Edward Geary and Bruce Wilson were re-appointed to the public lands board and Randall Stilson appointed as a new member of the Emery County Public Lands Board.
Melody Hoffman and Camille Thomas hours as Assistant Librarians were increased to 27 hours per week with prorated benefits.
Gloria Wilson will receive a 3 percent wage increase for successful completion of her 6 month orientation period. Amber Jones was approved as a volunteer for Archives.
Rick Price was selected as an Equipment Operator I for the Road Department. Working 19 3/4 hours per week. Rebekah Hennes was selected as a part time, temporary Data Entry employee working for the Road Department 19 3/4 hours per week.
It was approved to change the duties of Gayle Jensen from Lieutenant to Patrol Sergeant. Janalee Luke was appointed to Senior Administrative Assistant at the Sheriff’s Office.

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