Gwinnett County commission gives sheriff a $50K raise

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners unanimously Tuesday approved a $50,000 raise for the county sheriff, bringing Sheriff Keybo Taylor’s pay to about $193,000 — the highest among Georgia’s four most populous counties.

Sheriff Patrick Labat of Fulton County, the only Georgia county with more people than Gwinnett, makes almost $189,000 per year.

“We’re going to probably exceed Fulton County in the next 20 years,” Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the vote. “I think this puts our sheriff at a competitive salary.”

ExploreGwinnett commission to consider $50K raise for sheriff

Fulton also has a larger land area than Gwinnett, a point that was raised at Tuesday’s meeting.

Taylor declined to comment after the vote but said a statement was forthcoming Tuesday.

Sheriff Melody Maddox of DeKalb County, which has about 200,000 fewer people than Gwinnett, makes about $153,000 per year.

Cobb County, similar in size to DeKalb, did not provide its sheriff’s salary. According to the Gwinnett human resources department’s salary review, the Cobb sheriff makes $170,000.

Human Resources Director Adrienne McAllister said Taylor was also making less than the sheriffs of Athens-Clarke and Forsyth counties.

The Gwinnett sheriff oversees a pre-trial detention center with a capacity of 2,765 inmates and runs a department with 840 employees, she said. The sheriff also provides jail services for parts of neighboring counties, she said.

Taylor is serving his first term after winning election in 2020. Some of the command staff in the sheriff’s department were earning more than Taylor, according to commissioners.

The raise is retroactive to Sept. 1. The sheriff will also start receiving the same cost of living increases as other county employees, according to the resolution commissioners approved.

Soon after taking office, Taylor ended Gwinnett’s participation in a federal program that allowed local deputies to act as immigration agents. He implemented community programs including a task force on dealing with people experiencing mental health issues.

He was also accused of extortion after three bail bond companies sued, claiming Taylor shut them down because the owners did not donate to his election campaign. Taylor said his request for “support” was not monetary. One of the lawsuits was settled, while another ended when a Superior Court judge ruled in Taylor’s favor.

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The county commission also unanimously approved one-time payments of $1,500 for full-time employees and $750 for part-time employees, citing high inflation and economic uncertainty.

Gwinnett is facing employee shortages, especially for first responders and utility workers. The bonuses will cost $8.2 million, which is available due to budget savings this year, according to county spokespeople.

“Gwinnett residents deserve sustainable, high-quality county government services and those are made possible by a strong, reliable workforce,” Hendrickson said in a news release. “We intend to keep Gwinnett a preferred community where everyone can thrive by being the public sector employer of choice.”