Sheriff agrees to one-year contract

Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers is under contract for another year. The county council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the contract, negotiated between the county commissioners and Myers’ attorney, Jeff Beck.

The contract calls for a 2.5 percent salary increase for the Sheriff, effective in January. Since there is a state-mandated minimum pay for county sheriffs, there is language to allow local officials to make necessary upward adjustments. Any additional increase would come in the middle of the year when the state sets pay for county judges and prosecutors. By law, the sheriff must be paid no less than 80 percent of what the prosecutor earns. Myers pay next year had been budgeted for just under $119 thousand dollars.

A sticking point that still needs to be resolved relates to Sheriff Myers’ pension. At issue is a clause in the sheriff’s department retirement plan that says a deputy must be employed for eight years and a month before being eligible for retirement benefits. Sheriffs are limited by term limits to only serve eight years in office.

At last month’s work session, the sheriff said that clause was meant to dissuade outsiders, like himself, from running for sheriff. At that same session, county council members said they had no interest in changing the wording, preventing the sheriff from accruing retirement benefits while in office.

Neither side addressed the impasse Tuesday night, agreeing that this is an issue that needs to be discussed and resolved.