State ordered pay raise for prosecutors results in raise for sheriff

Most people would enjoy the idea of telling their boss to give them a raise because it’s the law.

But Sheriff Chris Lane said he felt very awkward doing exactly that while addressing the Bartholomew County Council Monday.

Veteran council members already knew all about Indiana Code Title 36. Essentially, the law states that in a county the size of Bartholomew, the county must pay the sheriff an annual salary equal to at least 80% of what’s being paid to the county’s top prosecuting attorney.

Effective July 1, the salary of Bartholomew County Prosecutor Lindsey Holden-Kay, as well as her peers across Indiana’s 92 counties, will rise from $178,168 annually to $183,513. Judges, magistrates and deputy prosecutors will also receive a 3% wage hike by order of the Indiana Supreme Court.

Although Lane is paid by county tax dollars, the seven-member council is still obligated to raise the sheriff’s wages to $144,605.

Due in part to Title 36, former sheriff Matt Myers was earning an estimated $156,890 during his eighth and final year in office.

In order to pay Lane the additional money he’ll be owed from July through December, the council agreed to set aside $2,205 from their general fund.

During his council presentation, Lane also provided his department’s overtime budget incurred during the four days of solar eclipse events in early April.

“All the way from the statehouse to the governor issuing a state of emergency, we didn’t know what to expect,” Lane said. “It was all hands-on-deck from Friday through Monday.”

Having additional deputies on road patrol those four days cost taxpayers $15,593 in overtime that came from the general fund. On the jail side, assigning additional corrections staff from April 5-8 cost $13,438 from local income taxes.

Officials were warned to expect over 100,000 visitors. The biggest event draw, according to organizer estimates, was the Eclipsing the Renaissance festival at Columbus Municipal Airport, with 4,000 in attendance.

”It turned out to not be as big of a deal as what everybody was predicting,” Lane said.

But Chief Deputy Sheriff Major John Martoccia offered a different perspective.

“If we didn’t prepare for it and something happened, where would we be?”