LIMA â?? The county and top officers and support staff with the Allen County Sheriffâ??s Office are headed to arbitration after a state fact-finder said the county is in no position to give wage increases.
The Allen County commissioners approved the fact-finding report Tuesday. Board President Jay Begg said the county and Fraternal Order of Police, which represents two of the three unions in the Sheriffâ??s Office, agreed to a wage re-opener during the last contract negotiations.
Employees are in the second year of a three-year contract. Presenting to a fact-finder is normal procedure, Begg said.
â??We each presented our sides for whether there was significant funding and need for an increase in wages.â?ť he said. â??The fact-finder found that there was no facts to support an increase in wages at this time.â?ť
Begg said the recommendation was largely based on the countyâ??s financial position and economy.
County employees have not received a wage increase in more than five years, Sheriff Sam Crish said. Step increases based on longevity were given when the last FOP contract was negotiated.
Crish has said publicly in the past that county employees should get some type of raise.
â??It has been a long time for any of the county employees to get a raise,â?ť he said. â??They do a good job and I would like to take care of them.â?ť
The unions have voted to go to binding arbitration. Crish said the results of that decision will be final.
The FOP represents the sheriffâ??s gold unit, comprised of 16 lieutenants and sergeants, and the support unit, which includes nine clerks, mechanics and cooks.
The blue unit, consisting of deputies, correction officers and dispatchers, will eventually go through the same wage re-opener process.
Allen County Sheriffâ??s Office