New agreement for Lake County deputies includes new hire, longevity bonuses

Three-year pact example of how Lake County wants to attract, retain employees

Hiring and longevity bonuses for the first time will be available to Lake County sheriff’s deputies and other union members as county officials look to keep and attract employees in the department and across the board.

A recently authorized collective bargaining agreement between the Lake County Board, Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council Sworn Deputy Unit is for three years retroactive to last Dec. 1 and covers 141 positions.

The new agreement covers all sworn deputies with law enforcement authority, including patrol, warrants and civil process deputies, detectives, dispatchers, dispatch supervisors and others. The last agreement expired Dec. 1.

Attracting, keeping employees a priority in Lake County's $640 million budget

Terms of the agreement call for a 6% wage increase as of that date followed by a 4% increase as of Dec. 1, 2024 and 3% as of Dec. 1, 2025. Deputies are paid by the hour. Assuming a 40-hour work week, the starting annual salary for a deputy now is $81,494 and increases to $87,297 as of Dec. 1, 2025.

As part of the pact, employees hired between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, 2024 will receive a $10,000 bonus paid in two parts. A longevity bonus structure paying from $1,000 to $2,500 at five-year milestones for up to 30 years of service also was established, as was a $2,000 annual stipend for detectives.

“We believe the new agreement, which puts us on an even playing field with our municipal partners, will be of great assistance in our recruitment and retention of sheriff’s deputies and dispatchers,” said sheriff’s office Deputy Chief Chris Covelli.

Corrections officers are in a separate bargaining unit and currently in contract negotiations with the county and sheriff’s office.

The agreement reflects county efforts in all employment areas.

“It’s really important to the (county) board we are compensating people fairly and competitively across Lake County government,” said board Chair Sandy Hart.

Lake County’s property tax levy for the current fiscal year starting Dec. 1 increased for the first time in five years to help fund a variety of programs and initiatives in a $640 million budget, including compensation to recruit and retain employees.

The budget included a 4% increase for nonunion staff as well as funding for potential salary, wage and/or benefit adjustments resulting from a compensation study. The study is expected to be considered by the board in July, Hart said.

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