Cortland County sheriff gets pay raise before taking office, will collect pension

CORTLAND, N.Y. – The personnel committee of the Cortland County Legislature voted Thursday to increase the base salary for the incoming sheriff of Cortland County.


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The committee voted 4-1 Thursday in favor of increasing the salary of sheriff-elect Mark Helms from $73,857 to $79,886.

Legislator Luke Snyder voted against the measure, saying he disagreed with the final amount that was voted on by the committee.

"There were different numbers being kicked around in executive session, and I wasn't comfortable with the numbers being kicked out," Snyder said.

Village of Homer Police Chief Mark Helms at the Cortland County Dairy Parade in June

Village of Homer Police Chief Mark Helms at the Cortland County Dairy Parade in June (Peter Blanchard/Cortland Voice)

The personnel committee has the authority to increase the base pay for county employees without the approval of the full county legislature, which consists of 17 lawmakers.

Helms said in a phone interview Thursday that he asked the committee to consider raising his pay after learning that he would be making less than some of his subordinates.

For example, the road patrol captain in the sheriff's department makes $85,500, while the jail captain makes $80,000, committee chair Sandy Price said Thursday.

"I think this position deserves more money given the amount of responsibility of the sheriff," Price said.

Helms is currently serving as the chief of police for the village of Homer. He retired from the sheriff's department in 2013 and collects more than $38,000 in annual pension benefits, according to SeeThroughNY.net.


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