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Sheriff gives 11.4% raise to sworn employees, 10% raise to civilian and Combined Communications Center staff

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – Sheriff Clovis Watson, Jr., and the Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA) have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will provide cost-of-living (COLA) raises of 11.4% for sworn employees. In addition, the Sheriff announced that civilian and Combined Communications Center personnel will receive COLA raises of 10%.

Last week, the Sheriff met with the Alachua County Commission, explaining that the reason he had not implemented the 7% raises provided by the board to all County employees was two-fold: he wanted to raise sworn employees to $47,000 and needed more funds to do that, and the union had not voted on the pay increase. The board allocated an additional $2.7 million to the Sheriff out of unused funds his office had returned from the previous fiscal year, and PBA and the Sheriff held a negotiation this morning that resulted in the MOU.

As a result of the agreement, the entry-level salary for deputies and corrections officers will be $47,023; the Sheriff says his goal is still to increase the starting pay to $50,000. Sworn personnel who received step increases this year will now receive a 13.9%-15.4% raise. Base pay will also increase to $63,343 for sergeants and $79,813 for lieutenants. The raises will be retroactive to October 1, 2022, and will be paid on the November 23 paycheck.

The COLA increase for other employees will bring the entry-level hourly rate to $16.50. Non-sworn employees who received step increases this year will receive a 10%-12.5% raise.

In a written release, Sheriff Watson said, “This historic milestone and needed pay raise will greatly benefit the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office in many ways. Current employees will receive raises in time for the holiday. Our recruitment efforts will also benefit, bringing relief to our employees as we become more competitive in our efforts to seek qualified new employees and raise employee retention rates for rewarding careers.”

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Jody Branaman, North Central Florida PBA President, sent a written statement saying the agreement “will help make the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office much more competitive in hiring and retaining the very best law enforcement officers to maintain public safety for everyone in our county. We are very grateful to the County Commission, which recognized our needs and returned vital funding to the Sheriff’s Office to help make this deal possible. We look forward to building upon this contract to ensure our county continues to make investing in public safety among its top priorities.”

Updated at 6:15 p.m. with statement from Branaman.

  • I want a professional police presence! Regardless of what one thinks of leadership, the people in the trenches need to be paid well for the sh$$ job of protecting us! Of course, there are many who just want police to look the other way while they ply their profession of choice: CRIME!

    A cost-of-living (COLA) increase (Don’t we wish we all could have one to fight off current inflation?) is one way to retain current, and draw future police officers! Of course, there are “bad cops”, just like bad lawyers, bad doctors, and on and on! Eliminating the current extreme shortages give the ACSO leadership the flexibility to weed out the chaff!

  • Beginning jailers starting salaries more than teachers! Where was the inflationary increase for the School Board?

    • Probably veering way off topic (maybe another article somewhere down the line), but I agree with the idea that our children’s teachers should be paid more. Along with support staff teachers did receive a raise in March of this year. I must admit, it seemed like a pittance when I went back to the ACPS meetings and published media articles. Salaried teachers received a $357 per year raise! According to Salary.com: “The average Public School Teacher salary in Alachua, FL is $50,517 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $42,194 and $61,601.” There are ACPS School board Members making just over $40K per year for a part time job! Very large salaries up top too (https://govsalaries.com/salaries/FL/alachua-county-public-schools)!

      So many important issues requiring positive action in the County/GNV City! Our kids education, all residents safety, improvement of quality of life issues in East Gainesville, and on and on! The current Boards (City and County) have paid lip service to them, and plowed on with unnecessary and interest group focused “actions”! For example, if the GNV CC had taken action, Hitchcock’s wanted to build a full service grocery store in East Gainesville in 2020 but were blown off by the then City Manager, and of course CC! I have to stop! I could go on but this is not the forum.

      Sorry Ms and Mr Cabrera!

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