Sheriff and other DeKalb County officials set to get pay raises starting July 1DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox discussed law enforcement and mental health during a press conference with Sen. Jon Ossoff Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the DeKalb County Police Department Headquarters. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
DeKalb County, GA — Various DeKalb County officials, including the sheriff and chief executive officer, have received large pay increases according to House Bill 694 that passed the state Legislature this year.
DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox is receiving the largest raise. Her salary increased from $140,000 to $222,240, which is an increase of $82,240, according to documents given to Decaturish.
One of Maddox’s major jobs is overseeing the county jail. Decaturish recently published a lengthy investigative story about deaths at the DeKalb County Jail in 2022, the deadliest year in a decade. Nine deaths were reported last year at the jail, which is overseen by the DeKalb Sheriff’s Officer. Several of the inmates who died in 2022 had a history of mental illness, records show. Maddox has repeatedly refused Decaturish.com’s requests for an interview about inmate deaths in 2022.
The DeKalb County CEO got about a $40,000 raise. CEO Michael Thurmond’s salary increased from $180,676 to $222,240.
The State court judge, jury, and traffic division salary changed from $160,601 to $200,016, which is an increase of $39,415. The DeKalb County district attorney’s salary was bumped from $187,702 to $222,240, an increase of $34,537.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill on May 3. The legislation goes into effect on July 1.
Here is the breakdown of the other salary adjustments:
– Superior court judge: $200,751 to $222,240
– Probate court judge: $170,638 to $200,016
– Superior court clerk: $150,563 to $166,680
– Tax commissioner: $150,563 to $166,680
– Juvenile court judge: $180,676 to $200,016
– Board of commissioners: $70,262 to $71,082
– State court solicitor: $180,676 to $200,016
– Chief magistrate: $170,638 to $200,016
– Associate magistrate: $135,507 to $150,012
State Rep. Billy Mitchell (D – Stone Mountain), the sponsor of the bill, said adjusting salaries for DeKalb County officials is not a process by which one entity asks for a raise, but rather the state Legislature works to keep the salaries in line with similar positions across the county and the state.
DeKalb County is one of the largest counties, but the compensation for its officials wasn’t in line with other counties around the state.
“We tried to get this done last legislative session and because of what was going on, it didn’t cross the finish the line as we’d hoped,” Mitchell said. “We went back this year and were fortunate enough to get it done.”
He noted that the sheriff’s salary did not match up with other sheriffs or her job responsibilities.
“This salary increase for her, for example, puts her in line as the same as the chief of police for DeKalb County as well as the director of public safety,” Mitchell said. “Her roles and responsibilities are similar and in some instances greater, but yet still, her compensation was substantially lower. We increased that percentage to reflect her responsibilities.”
He added that the positions listed in the bill aren’t ones that can give themselves raises. The state Legislature sets their pay.
“The process is an extensive one in that we have to have documentation of where they stand as compared to other jurisdictions. We had to make certain that the county, which inevitably pays for these raises, can afford them,” Mitchell said.
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