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Pasco sheriff gives assistant nearly $10,000 raise

NEW PORT RICHEY — As part of a broad reallocation of resources to cut costs and become more efficient, Sheriff Bob White has handed more duties to his assistant.

He's also given her a nearly $10,000 a year raise.

Terry Phayre, who joined the agency in 1983, went from an annual salary of $61,443 to $70,803, a jump of two pay grades. She may also accrue additional retirement benefits.

Her job title — executive assistant to the sheriff — does not change, and she will still keep White's calendar and attend meetings on his behalf.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll said the pay increase reflects a corresponding increase in responsibility. Phayre will now supervise several people and maintain all of the agency's policies and procedures.

"Someone had to do those duties, and the extensive manpower that this person's going to have to put into it, he (White) deemed fitting for that increase in pay," Doll said.

Phayre, for her part, sees the change as a whole new position, not just a raise.

"It's a different job," she said Wednesday. "I have a lot more responsibilities."

Those include supervising the agency's grant coordinator, the extra-duty coordinator, who arranges traffic and security work for deputies hired by outside businesses, and the secretary who handles general orders and other regulations.

Maintaining and updating those records is Phayre's primary new task. Any time general orders, the operating rules of the Sheriff's Office, are updated or amended, it requires input from numerous departments. Also, because White eliminated the accreditation arm of the agency, any reference to accreditation in those policies has to be stricken.

Overseeing the policies and procedures is the part Phayre says she's most excited about.

"I love challenges," she said.

The new duties fall to her after White cut two accreditation jobs last month. The accreditation manager's position moved to the 911 center, where White says he has always been understaffed. And the organization development manager's job, which paid about $83,000 annually, was eliminated.

In addition to giving Phayre a raise, the Sheriff's Office advertised a legal notice proposing to change her classification in the Florida Retirement System to senior management. That means the agency, and therefore taxpayers, would fund her retirement at a higher rate.

Doll explained: "She's on the sheriff's command staff, (and) the duties that she has now are considered senior management. The policies and procedures — all of those tasks came from senior management positions from before."

Overall, White says, the changes result in money being saved and reallocated, making the Sheriff's Office more efficient.

"We have to make sure that we're putting our resources where we need them," he said in a news conference Wednesday outlining the reorganization.

Across the parking lot at the county government center, the assistant to County Administrator John Gallagher earns $48,734 annually. Mary Lecznar, who joined the county in 1983, received two 7.5 percent merit increases — the maximum allowed — in 2006 and 2007, officials said. Like all county employees, she received no raise last year.

The Sheriff's Office also froze wages last year due to economic conditions, in which employees are commonly being tapped for more work with no more pay.

But Doll said Phayre is an exception.

"No one has had additional responsibility to the extent that Terry has," he said. "She's taking on entire command-level functions that no one else has taken on. The sheriff chose Terry because he trusts her and knows she has the experience."

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Pasco sheriff gives assistant nearly $10,000 raise 02/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 10:12pm]
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