CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County Sheriff Johnny Rutherford is asking for raises for the county's deputies.
The request came at the Kanawha County Commission's regular budget meeting on Thursday, when the county's elected officials present their annual budget requests.
Commissioners Kent Carper, Dave Hardy and Hoppy Shores approved the first major pay raises for county employees for several years in 2013, but they did so knowing the sheriff's department would be unable to give out as many raises as other offices.
Though each elected official got between $47,000 and $60,000 to pass out for raises, the large size of the sheriff's department meant Rutherford only had about a 2.5 percent increase to pass out, compared with 5 percent for other elected officials. Rutherford chose to use the money to raise the salaries of his lowest-paid civilian workers.
Rutherford told county commissioners Thursday he is starting to lose deputies to other counties and city police departments, and thinks paying more money would help retain deputies.
Deputies don't necessarily make more money at competing agencies, but benefits may be better or the workload may be much less. Rutherford said deputies respond to about 46,000 calls a year, spread out among about 100 deputies.
Allen Bleigh, chief tax deputy, said a $2,500 raise for each deputy would cost about $235,000, or about $300,000 with benefits.