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How much is a Dunn County sheriff worth? Commission seeks salary guidelines

MANNING -- With the deadline approaching to turn in applications for Dunn County's open sheriff position, the County Commission will check the law before determining what the salary for the position will be.

Denise Giffin with Dunn County's Human Resource Department told the commission at its meeting Wednesday at the courthouse here that she would consult with Dunn County State's Attorney Ross Sundeen to see what the law says about setting an interim sheriff's salary before the commission makes a final decision.

"There have been a lot of calls, several calls, asking for more information, specifically, salary," Giffin said. "We do not have a designated salary or salary range at this point. What I would like to do, if the commission would allow the (selection) committee ... to set a salary range based on our current pay structure and the market value throughout North Dakota."

Giffin, County Auditor Tracey Dolezal and Commissioner Reinhardt Hauck are on the selection committee.

Giffin said former Dunn County Sheriff Don Rockvoy's salary -- $66,150 per year -- is comparable to other sheriff salaries in the region, but suggested that the commission could establish a salary range going into the selection process, then set a final salary based on the candidate's experience.

She added that all law enforcement agencies in North Dakota have been informed that Dunn County has an opening for sheriff, and so far there have been two applications submitted.

The application deadline is April 15.

Rockvoy submitted a letter to the commission earlier this month to inform the commissioners that he would step down from his position on March 31.

Rockvoy, who resigned to take a position working in the oil field, came to Dunn County as a sheriff's deputy in April 2009 and was appointed sheriff in July 2009.

He was formally elected to the position in 2010. The sheriff is elected to a four-year term.

Before his departure on March 31, Rockvoy appointed then-deputy Matt Hegstad to be the interim chief deputy.

The commission said Hegstad's salary was set at $53,000 for the interim chief deputy.

Commissioner Bob Kleeman said he did not like the idea of the county paying someone the same salary if they had less experience.

But Hauck said he believed "the law is pretty specific" on how the salary has to be set in cases like this.

"During an elected official's term, the salary cannot be decreased," he said. "You can start there and move up, but I don't know why you would want to do that."