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County, city cop salaries may be comparable in the end

Hubbard County Chief Deputy Scott Parks figures when it's all said and done, his annual county salary will be significantly below what he was making as a Park Rapids police officer.

Both departments offered additional input into the county and city officers' salaries following Saturday's Enterprise story. Sheriff Cory Aukes' had asked the county board to start two recently hired cops at higher salaries with the county so they wouldn't take drastic pay cuts. It touched off a mild debate as to which department pays better.

But it's not really an apples to apples situation and Aukes said both officers will be making less at the county level initially.

City Treasurer Angela Brumbaugh agreed.

In 2011, a newly hired city officer would be paid $18.48 per hour, she said.

Aukes said at Step 3, which officers Dan May and Dan Kruchowski start at in Hubbard County, they're making less than their city salaries. Step 3 pays $20.9880 per hour. After satisfactory completion of a six-month probationary period, each officer will be bumped up to Step 7, which pays $23.6221 per hour.

Brumbaugh said when May left the Police Department he was earning $24.65 per hour. Kruchowski is currently earning $25.30. He begins with the county May 5.

In Parks' case, he went to a salaried position, giving up his overtime, holiday and vacation pay. He said his salary at the county was comparable to the one he had as a police officer. He makes $56,072.85 per year at the county.

Aukes said the differences come in longevity. City officers tend to reach the top of their pay scale sooner than deputies, who must serve 10 years before hitting the salary ceiling. Brumbaugh said it's eight years for city officers to hit the salary cap.

And Brumbaugh said although both deputies and city officers are union positions, they are represented by different unions, which negotiate differently.

Salaries for both squads also depend heavily on overtime pay, which Aukes is under pressure to cut back on.

Parks said he still thinks he made a good career move. He is in a supervisory position with the county. His wife Carrie remains on the city police force and will be that department's new K-9 officer.

"I'm just glad to have a job," Scott Parks said. "There's so many people out there that don't."

Aukes said it's a tribute to all three men that they are willing to take a salary reduction to join the county department.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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