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Sheriff's employees get raises after all

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By AJ Vicens

Jeffco sheriff's deputies and other employees at the sheriff's office have received a 3 percent raise, months after being told it wasn't possible.

The raises were effective July 1.

"The ability to effect this pay increase is possible in part because of the diligent management of our overtime resources," Sheriff Ted Mink said in a June 23 memo. "New scheduling plans and judicious management have enabled us to proved this pay increase within our existing budget."

Jeffco leaders had to cut more than $10 million from the county's budget for the 2008 budget cycle. Department heads and elected officials were told that they could give scheduled annual raises only if they could make cuts or other savings in their budgets. No additional money was going to fund pay increases, and many departments saw their budgets decrease.

The sheriff's office — among the biggest departments in county government — saw cuts to its budget and told employees they would not get raises.

Mink said in an interview that a new "jump shift," or "power shift," in the jail made better use of labor costs and allowed for the raises, and that the effort to do this was a long time coming.

"It's something," Mink said. "With the economy being the way it is — fuel prices, food prices — it's nice to do something."

He said that rethinking the way the jail is staffed saved $1.5 million in overtime.

"We're trying to be creative without risking the deputies’ or community's safety," Mink said.