All of Floyd short of man­power

The fi­nal phase of a three-year pay up­grade to pub­lic safety agen­cies will be im­ple­mented later this year.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Doug Walker As­so­ci­ate Editor

Pub­lic safety agen­cies in Floyd County con­tinue to run be­low autho­rized strength in spite of im­proved pay and ben­e­fits. Floyd County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, Floyd County Po­lice and Rome-Floyd County Fire Depart­ment all re­ported staff short­falls dur­ing a meet­ing of the county pub­lic safety com­mit­tee Fri­day.

The County Com­mis­sion will pro­vide the third phase of a three-year en­hanced pay pack­age later this year. “Most ev­ery­body got some ad­just­ment,” said As­sis­tant Floyd County Man­ager Gary Burkhal­ter.

The pay scale is based on ed­u­ca­tion, to­tal years of ser­vice and years of ser­vice in spe­cific po­si­tions.

County Com­mis­sion Chair Rhonda Wal­lace said she hopes the com­mis­sion would be able to add some merit raises in the 2018 bud­get.

Fire Chief Troy Brock said he was seven firefighters short and ex­pects to lose an­other fire­fighter to Cobb County at the end of the week. “It’s a national trend that’s fol­low­ing pub­lic safety,” Brock said. He said the county is just not get­ting the num­ber of ap­pli­cants it used to.

“We’ve lost a few to other de­part­ments. Most of them have been going to work for the coun­ties they ac­tu­ally live in,” Brock said. He said the depart­ment is hir­ing and in par­tic­u­lar need of can­di­dates who are also cer­ti­fied emer­gency med­i­cal tech­ni­cians. “That would give you a leg up in the process if you meet all of the other cri­te­ria,” Brock said.

The city of Rome com­pleted its most re­cent pay plan ad­just­ment for pub­lic safety per­son­nel, in­clud­ing firefighters, in 2015.

As­sis­tant Floyd County Po­lice Chief Mark Wal­lace also re­ported that his staff was short seven of­fi­cers, 10 if he was to in­clude three po­si­tions that have been tem­po­rar­ily frozen.

“We do see a lit­tle com­pe­ti­tion from other po­lice de­part­ments, yeah, salar­ies as well as ben­e­fit pack­ages — they al­ways come into play,” Wal­lace said. “Through the county com­mis­sion we’ve in­sti­tuted

some mea­sures that we think will help us be more com­pet­i­tive. They’ve al­lowed us to ex­pand our take home car pol­icy and they started the em­ployee health clinic, and those are def­i­nite perks for po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees.”

David Rober­son re­ported the Floyd County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment was only down three of­fi­cers at this time. At one point in the sum­mer of 2015, Sher­iff Tim Burkhal­ter en­gaged for­mer Gover­nor Roy Barnes, a Cobb County at­tor­ney, to do a

staffing anal­y­sis for the Sher­iff’s Depart­ment. The man­power is­sue led to a con­flict be­tween the Sher­iff and County com­mis­sion which has — for the most part — been re­solved.

Wal­lace said he couldn’t re­mem­ber the last time the county po­lice was at full staff. Brock said he’s been at full staff once in the last sev­eral years but it didn’t last long. “City and county gov­ern­ments are do­ing all they can to pro­mote pub­lic safety and get the re­cruits that we need.”

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