Sheriff Virts responds after report of stalled negotiations, officer shortage in Wayne County

Negotiations are still unfolding in Wayne County – as officials and the Sheriff’s Office’s union are fighting for a pay raise.

Something they say hasn’t come in three years; and may not come now for more than four.

Sixty Wayne County deputies, sergeants and investigators are fighting for a raise. Chris Toole with Teamsters Local 118 represents Wayne County deputies. He told WHEC-TV in Rochester that deputies in Wayne make $26 an hour compared to Newark Police officers that make $31 an hour.

As result, they are requesting a 30 percent raise – since not a single increase has been granted since 2015.

The Sheriff’s Office is short roughly a dozen full-time deputies, and around six part-time deputies.

Toole says the reality is simple: Deputies are jumping ship for more money, oftentimes before the County can retain them.

“We’re talking about three years worth of catch up here which is going to be substantial but it will be equal with everyone else,” Toole told WHEC. “Our men and women right now are 6, 7, and 8 dollars an hour less than the other counties surrounding Ontario, Monroe, and Seneca.”

Sheriff Barry Virts responded to the report on Twitter, pointing out that he is continuing to advocate for fair wages within his force. “I continue to ask the county to pay the deputies equitably and with parity to other police departments in the county and surrounding sheriff’s offices,” he explained.

What does it mean? Toole says it creates long days. “This causes our police officers to work 15-20 hours a day to compensate for the lack of staffing…that’s the impact right there,” he added. “People are going through the academy and they are immediately transferring to other departments where they will be better compensated.”

Negotiations have been going on since 2016; and it doesn’t look favorable for finding resolution in the short-term. “This is going to set us back months if not year now were talking four or four and a half years without a raise,” Toole said. “I have bus drivers and UPS drivers, that make more than the police officers in Wayne county and it is sad.”

Toole blamed the Board of Supervisors and County Administrator. “I think the county administrator and the board of supervisors they’re playing Russian Roulette with their taxpayers and the men and women who work for them,” he concluded.

Officials say they remain optimistic that with the help of a mediator a contract can be reached.

Also on FingerLakes1.com