Tired of ‘beating a dead horse,’ sheriff urges court to upgrade officer pay, benefits

Nelson County Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa gestures during a heated discussion with the Nelson Fiscal Court regarding better pay and benefits for his deputies whose salary and benefits are provided by fiscal court.

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 — Nelson Fiscal Court’s meeting ended on a tense note Tuesday morning after Nelson County Sheriff’s Ramon Pineiroa thanked the court for its 7 percent across-the-board employee raise, but told the magistrates the raises fell short of a salary that will retain his department’s deputies.

Pineiroa, his voice cracking with emotion, told the court they did not have to deal with the stress of knowing members of his department could walk to the other side of the building that houses the Bardstown Police Department and make $10 more an hour and get better beneifts.

One deputy is leaving now, and he said he stands to possibly lose three more deputies.

Pineiroa’s frustration was evident as he explained how the pay he can offer is no longer competitive and is unable to retain good deputies.

The reason is simple — the sheriff’s office pay and benefits are no longer competitive.

Many of his officers are younger men with families, and getting a better deal on family insurance and pay is a very strong incentive.

Pineiroa said he’s beaten this dead horse for three-and-a-half years without getting results — and he’s still losing officers to higher paying departments.

He told the court he wasn’t sure what the solution was, but called it “a slap in the face” for the sheriff’s office to lose deputies to the City of Bardstown inside the same building the deputies are working in now.

“It has to be a team effort to stop this — a band-aid can’t stop this,” he said.

By written agreement, Nelson Fiscal Court provides funding to the sheriff’s office to pay salaries for deputies who perform law enforcement, and Pineiroa called on fiscal court to work as a group to find a solution. “It has to be ASAP or we’re going to lose more guys.”

Judge Executive Dean Watts said he was willing to discuss what measures the county government can do to address the problem, but mention the need for cuts in services in the budget or new fees or taxes toc over the additional costs if pay and benefits are enhanced.

Magistrate Eric Shelburne suggested the county offer deputies a stipend to employees for their years of service as a way to retain and reward employees.

Magistrate Gary Coulter said it might be helpful for the sheriff, judge and magistrates to sit down and discuss the issue.

Watts said he would put together some figures to examine the financial impact of possible pay increases in the sheriff’s office might have on the county budget.

“We’re really going to need more revenue, that’s all I have to say,” Watts concluded.

VIDEO: Sheriff says he’s tired of “beating a dead horse the past 3-1/2 years.

Nelson County Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa addresses Nelson Fiscal Court regarding better pay and benefits for the deputies who are funded by the court’s budget.

INTERET EXPANSION PROJECT. The court heard a report from County Engineer Brad Spalding that he is still in discussions with Spectrum regarding four roads the county had previously identified as part of its internet expansion project.

The court agreed to approve a list of roads the county and city have agreed to work to provide internet access to at an estimated cost of 4844,191. Those roads include:

  • Harrison Fork Road
  • Greenwell Ford Road
  • Lemon Ford Road
  • Bellwood Road
  • Holt Ridge Road
  • Stallard Lane
  • Tom Greer / Woodlawn Road
  • Tunnel Mill / Murphy Lane
  • Timber Creek Road
  • Love Ridge Road
  • Prather Ridge Road
  • North Stillwell Road
  • South Stillwell Road.

The City of Bardstown will contribute $407,400, while Nelson County government will contribute $436,791 from its federal American Rescue Plan Act funding.

HEAVEN HILL INDUSTRIAL REVENUE BONDS. The court approved a resolution in support of revenue bonds that will pay for the Heaven Hill Springs Distillery that will be built on Old Bloomfield Pike.

The $135 million project is expected to be completed by 2024. The new distillery’s initial production of 150,000 barrels per year will eventually reach 450,000 barrels.

BARDSTOWN BOURBON PROPERTY SALE. The court approved the sale of approximately 24 acres to the Bardtown Bourbon Company, land that it plans to use for construction of rickhouses.

In other action, Nelson Fiscal Court:

— gave final approval to the county’s 2022-23 budget.

— approved an across-the-board 7 percent pay raise for county employees.

— gave final approval of corrections to fix typographical errors in the county’s alcohol beverage control ordinance;

— approved a bid by the Kentucky Association of Counties for county govenrment’s liability and workmen’s compensation insurance coverage.

NEXT UP. Nelson Fiscal Court will next meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 21, 2021, in the second floor meeting room of the Old Courthouse.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Please follow and like us:

Comments are closed

Subscribe to get new posts in your email!