FARMINGTON – Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to increase the deputy rate of pay for all grant-funded special enforcement details from $30 to $35 an hour. They also voted to allow the lieutenants to participate in operating under the influence and seat belt enforcement details funded by state grants.

Currently, deputies are paid a flat rate of $30 an hour for federal Operation Stonegarden details, which are related to protecting the country’s borders. The $30 an hour is less than time and a half for some of the higher paid deputies.

The county is reimbursed by federal funds for the cost of deputies’ time plus the additional county expenses that include FICA, Maine retirement, flex dollars, health care and workers’ compensation, according to the information Chief Deputy Steven Lowell presented to commissioners.

Lowell proposed the deputy rate be increased to $35 an hour for all details, including federally funded Operation Stonegarden and state-funded operating under the influence and seat belt details. The billing rate for the details would be $50.85.

Paying and billing one rate for special enforcement details does away with calculating each deputy’s individual rate, Lowell said.

He also requested that lieutenants be allowed to participate in the OUI and seat belt enforcement details. They are already allowed to participate in Operation Stonegarden patrols, which are eight-hour shifts.

The enforcement details paid by state grants are for four-hour shifts and usually done late in the evening and early morning.

“We have had some difficulty filling some of the grant shifts in the past two years because a good number of those shifts are only four-hour shifts,” Lowell said. “Paying this higher rate will offset the increase in the deputy rate at time and a half and provide more incentive for deputies to work those shorter shifts.”

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