AUGUSTA — Deputies at the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office are receiving a 9% raise after county officials and the law enforcement union that represents them recently reached an agreement on a three-year contract.

With this increase, the department moves from among the lowest-paid departments in the state to among the higher-paid departments.

“They didn’t get everything they wanted and we didn’t get everything we wanted, so we believe it’s a fair contract,” said John Bourque, union president and a detective in the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, noting that the higher wages makes the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office competitive with other law enforcement agencies in the capitol region.

While the Thomas F. Malloy Lodge #7 of the Fraternal Order of Police had initially asked for a 15% pay increase and other considerations, the union agreed to the lower number.

Going into negotiations for the contract, Scott Ferguson, Kennebec County administrator, said he surveyed other sheriff’s departments across the state and found that deputies in Kennebec County ranked in the bottom five statewide in terms of pay.

The contract is retroactive to July 1, bringing the range of hourly pay for patrol deputies to $21.97 to $30.72, based on years of experience.


“From the deputies’ standpoint, we were in the bottom-third as far as all 16 county sheriff’s department, as far as pay goes, and this puts us into the top third,” Bourque said. “We’re not the highest, but this makes us competitive in the job market.”

This pay raise comes at a time when law enforcement agencies at all levels are offering sign-on bonuses as incentives to fill vacancies. In neighboring Lincoln County, signing bonuses of up to $16,000 are being offered to experienced officers.

Kennebec County Sheriff Ken Mason said Tuesday that his department hasn’t had problems filling vacancies in the last five and half years.

Even so, the pay increase for deputies is well deserved, Mason said, and brings their pay scale to a level comparable to other agencies.

“Professional law enforcement  officers want to work at Kennebec S.O., which I am grateful for,” he said, adding that he’s also grateful to county commissioners for recognizing the quality of work by the patrol and transport divisions.

Ferguson said deputies had also asked for an increase in what would be paid out for personal property damaged in the line of duty.

“If they’re on the job and their watch gets broken or their glasses get broken, we’ll pay for it,” Ferguson said. “They’re in the line of duty. I don’t quibble over the minor things. Employee morale is important.”

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