At the July 14, 2022 Kosciusko County Council Meeting, the council approved a 2022 Salary Ordinance Amendment for the salary of the Sheriff to be increased from a maximum salary of $164, 950.00 to a maximum salary of $170,276.00. This is the sheriff’s salary for July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023. Several county council members noted they had no choice but to approve the increase because the sheriff again chose not to negotiate a contract with the county.
The issue of the sheriff’s compensation is one of the concerns I highlighted when I filed to run for office. This issue continues to be one that generates many questions and concerns from citizens of Kosciusko County. Currently, in a time when everyone is tightening their belts to make budgets stretch due to increased gas prices, we have received yet another salary increase, this time to over $170,000!
This only solidifies the need for a conservative minded sheriff that will work with the Kosciusko County Commissioners to enter into a contract with fair compensation for the position of sheriff and also return all tax warrant dollars back to the county. I am that fiscally conservative Republican candidate for sheriff who upon being elected will ask for the current adopted salary to be negated for my salary and will negotiate a substantially lower salary contract that does not take a percentage of the tax warrant dollars! My salary negotiations will request the sheriff's salary be near the state average salary for Indiana.
Sheriff Salary compared to other state officials
Sheriff Dukes recently claimed that his decision to decline a regular salary contract with the County Council and fall back on a statutory formula that makes him one of the highest-paid sheriffs in the entire state was simply part of his campaign promise to get back to “following state statutes.” Don’t be fooled.
The law that Sheriff Dukes is referencing allows sheriffs to utilize the salary formula, including the tax warrant loophole; it does not require them to. The vast majority of sheriffs in Indiana and every previous sheriff in Kosciusko County rejected this method of compensation because they know that it is ridiculous for a county sheriff to have a higher salary than the governor and the attorney general. By entering a contract for reasonable compensation with the County Council, those sheriffs aren’t violating any state statute – they’re simply putting the community first and looking out for the taxpayers.
Sheriff Dukes also claimed that educating the voters on his salary in comparison to other Indiana sheriffs and elected officials is a “misuse of public information.” I believe that it is public information that the citizens ought to have.
The average salary for a sheriff in Indiana is about $110,000. By refusing to enter a salary contract with the County Council, Sheriff Dukes has unilaterally inflated his own pay up to $162,580. He is one of only a few elected sheriffs from the 92 counties to make that decision. The voters should know about their sheriff’s decisions, and they should especially know when the vast majority of sheriffs take a different and more reasonable path.
The voters should also know that they have a choice. I view the office of sheriff as a service to the community, not an opportunity for personal enrichment. If elected sheriff, I will enter into a fiscally conservative salary contract with the County Council that is in line with the statewide average. Any money that may be lost to me personally by making that decision would be more than compensated by the honor of serving this community.
I appreciate your attention to this issue, and I would appreciate your support in the May 3 Republican primary.
Jim Smith Republican Candidate for Kosciusko Co. Sheriff Pierceton,
Once elected I will put the counties needs before my own, fiscal responsibility is a core value I strongly believe in.
In this video I discuss the current salary of the Sheriff and how my intent in law enforcement has always been serve the community not get rich.
Join Me on November 8th, 2022, voting for Jim Smith for Sheriff!
Voting serves all of us. Thank you for your commitment.