Cherokee County responders who risk coronavirus to get hazard pay

Cherokee County first responders who in the course of their duties risk exposure to the COVID-19 virus will receive “temporary hazard pay” of up to $500 a month.

The county Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a resolution authorizing three months of the additional pay for front-line public safety members of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Fire & Emergency Services and Marshal’s Office.

Employees exposed to “elevated risk” will receive an additional $250 a month, and those who run “significantly elevated risk,” $500 a month, according to the resolution. Sheriff Frank Reynolds, Fire Chief Timothy Prather and Chief Marshal Ron Hunton will have sole discretion to determine those eligible for the extra pay.

Commissioners also approved a budget amendment allocating $1.75 million to cover the additional payments. The measure is in effect until the public health emergency declared by Gov. Brian Kemp ends or June 30, whichever happens first.