Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce is getting a nearly 10 percent raise, in addition to his annual cost of living adjustment.

County commissioners voted 4-1, with Susan Witonis opposed, on Monday to increase Joyce’s salary from $100,000 to a little over $109,000.

The salary increase stems from a request by the sheriff, who is an elected official, according to the commissioner’s meeting agenda. And the vote followed a closed-door session during which county staff presented their salary recommendation to the commissioners.

County Manager Jim Gailey said the commissioners accepted the staff’s recommendation and that he would delay the hiring of a new position to offset the cost.

“The commissioners have not addressed his salary since he was first elected,” Gailey said. “It was felt that with the size of the sheriff’s office patrol, oversight of the largest jail in Maine and the significant amount of work in the communities and at the State House, it was worthy of looking at his salary this year.”

Other elected county officials have not had raises in recent years, Gailey said. Commissioners have each made about $11,000 a year since at least 2009, and the new judge of probate makes less than the previous judge. The one exception, he said, is the register of probate, which had a salary increase of “a few thousand” dollars a few years ago. The district attorney’s salary is funded by the state.

Joyce’s salary has been adjusted for inflation along with other nonunion employees. That adjustment was 2.5 percent this year.

Joyce, who was first elected in 2011, said he requested a raise because he missed a salary step increase for his 25th year with the department, which he would have gotten had he remained a chief deputy. He said commissioners granted a raise that was just about half of what he requested. He credited Gailey for putting together a proposal that “made sense.”

“I put a lot of time in and when you start looking at it hourly, it was just time to be a little bit more comparable to CEOs of other law enforcement agencies around me,” Joyce said.

Gailey said the salary was recommended based on those of other police chiefs in the region. He noted that the sheriff oversees a 65-member patrol division with a budget of $8.5 million and the state’s largest jail with 180 employees, more than 500 beds, and a $19.2 million budget.

“The sheriff, though elected, puts in a significant amount of hours each week in the office and at functions throughout the county and state,” Gailey said.

The York County Sheriff makes about $99,600 a year. That salary, along with those of other nonunion employees, is adjusted annually for inflation, according to York County Manager Gregory Zinser.

Portland’s police chief earns about $126,500. However, the city is advertising a salary as high as $134,000 in its nationwide search for a new chief, according to a city spokesperson.

James Cloutier, chairman of the five-member panel of commissioners, didn’t return a call seeking comment. But Witonis said she opposed giving Joyce the entire raise immediately.

“The sheriff’s raise I felt should have been spread out over a few years and not all at once,” she said.

Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: randybillings

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