Deputies Resume Picketing
Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies picketed the courthouse Monday during the second day of protest against what they say are low wages.
By late Monday afternoon, county commissioners hadn’t budged on the amount of money they plan to give deputies for raises.
The Kootenai County Deputy Sheriff’s Association originally asked the county commissioners for $450,000 in raises for about 100 people. On Monday they cut their request down to $400,000.
County commissioners, who have been preparing next year’s budget, originally offered about $230,000 in raises and then upped it to $260,000.
Commissioners believe that by offering the $260,000 they are both addressing the deputies’ needs and cutting taxes, said County Clerk Tom Taggart.
But Sgt. Dan Soumas said the money is too little, especially for deputies who have been at the sheriff’s department for many years and still make far less than their peers from other police departments.
Deputies want the commissioners to use some of the property tax money from new developments to help pay for higher county wages. Taggart, however, said commissioners have decided not to use that money so they can instead cut taxes.
Deputies will likely not picket the courthouse today but instead will present their case during a public hearing on the budget Thursday night.
The hearing will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Coeur d’Alene City Council chambers.