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Sheriff's budget under consideration by county delegation

February 24, 2011
OSSIPEE — By state law, the sheriff's department is responsible for serving civil paperwork such as eviction notices and court summonses, providing court security in all state courts except the supreme court, acting as "court crier" (also known as court bailiff) charged with maintain order in the court and transporting prisoners.

The scope of the sheriff's department in Carroll County and other counties in the state goes well beyond the requirements of state statute, however, as deputies are called upon to additionally serve as police officers on patrol with so many towns not having their own full-time police departments. Additionally, deputies can be seen in the busy tourist season on special patrol policing the Route 112, better known as Kancamagus Highway.

Carroll County Sheriff's Department also controls the emergency communications for most of the county and some bordering towns from their dispatch center in Ossipee.

Steadily through the years, Carroll County Sheriff's Department has become an all-encompassing policy agency for the county. They have a Web site at www.sheriff.carrollcountynh.net that lists their involvement in the Carroll County Drug Task Force and as the lead agency in the state for the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in addition to an array of other services they provide.

Carroll County is 70 miles long and 30 miles wide, leaving a lot of ground to cover. Most of the towns do not have round-the-clock police coverage including Albany, Chatham, Hart's Location, Hale's Location, Effingham, Freedom, Madison and Tamworth, to name a few.

Sheriff Chris Conley attended the county delegation meeting recently to answer questions about his proposed 2011 budget, accompanied by his Captain David Meyers. The overall budget for the sheriff's office and dispatch center is up about $80,000 with most of the increase attributed to salary and health insurance rate increases.

Meyers, who the sheriff acknowledged does not have a current and complete job description, is currently responsible for being the second in command at the department and is also charged with controlling and maintaining an extremely complex and intricate computer system. Commissioners and delegates had questioned why the county's computer technician, Cyberton, Inc. could not take over maintenance of the sheriff's department and dispatch center's computers. That company currently maintains the computers and network for the nursing home, jail, county attorney's office and business office.

Cyberton owner Jon Rich told delegates he had a conversation with Meyers who said he spends on average of four hours a day maintaining the computer system. For Rich's company to offer that same dedicated service, it would cost the county an additional $65,000 per year. Rich said, "His system is very thorough with many redundancies in place. Whether it is overkill or not I'm not in a position to say at this time. I can tell you he is very thorough."

The computer expertise that Meyers holds seemed to sway delegates when Meyer's salary came up for discussion. It was noted that Meyers, who is paid an hourly rate, put in 15 to 16 hours of overtime each week maintaining the computer system and the sheriff asked that he be moved to a salaried position instead to the tune of $85,000 in 2011. Representative Mark McConkey said the county is lucky to have someone of Meyer's capability working for the county and supported the salary.

In other salaries for the sheriff's department, Sheriff Conley's proposed salary is $60,000. In 2010, including special detail pay and regular hourly pay, the top ten earners at the sheriff's department were: Meyers $79,582.88; Detective Sergeant Timothy Thompson $63,548.49; Deputy Paul Bois $61,519.34; Lieutenant Michael Santuccio $60,680.88; Detective Sergeant Derek Richardson $54,946.89; Deputy Brittany Perley $54,282.14; Deputy Mitchell Gove $54,462.46; and Corporal Michael Bedley $54,657.94.

County delegation budget discussions continue on Mondays at the county administration office in Ossipee through March as they work to finalize the 2011 budget by the end of the month.

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