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Commonwealth's Counties

Subcommittee halts House version of unfunded mandate for deputy sheriffs’ salaries

A bill requiring an increase in minimum salaries for deputy sheriffs failed to advance in the House, as the legislation was voted to be carried over until 2021 in subcommittee.

HB 1302 (Hurst) is the House counterpart to SB 1085 (Pillion), which was previously stricken in favor of studying the issue for the next year.  The legislation provided that the minimum salary for all deputy sheriffs, law enforcement and non-law enforcement, shall be set at the compensation board minimum plus a 20 percent supplement. This supplement would have required localities to foot the bill unless that locality was designated as high or above average according to the Commission on Local Government’s Fiscal Stress Index as of July 1, 2020.  For those localities at high or above average fiscal stress, the bill directed the Commonwealth to pay the entire sum of the difference between the current salary paid and the new required minimum.  For those localities not at high or above average fiscal stress, however, the cost fell directly to them.

VACo was quick to raise concerns about the fiscal impact of this legislation as well as the dangerous precedent it would have set.  We also voiced our concern this legislation would open the door for greater future financial impacts should localities fiscal stress level change in ensuing years.

VACo worked with Senator Todd Pillion to forge an agreement to meet with a group of relevant stakeholders to comprehensively study the issue of deputy sheriffs’ salaries and come back for the 2021 legislative session with fresh ideas.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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