Knox County mayor, sheriff announce budget compromise

Knox County’s mayor and sheriff had been at odds over Knox County Sheriff’s Office salaries.
LIVE: Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Sheriff Tom Spangler announce budget compromise.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 9:31 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2023 at 10:32 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Sheriff Tom Spangler announced a budget compromise Friday at downtown Knoxville’s City-County Building.

The compromise comes after a disagreement on the Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s budget. As the latest county budget was finalized, Spangler had asked Jacobs for a 30% increase in order to raise pay for patrol and corrections officers. Jacobs had countered with an eight percent increase, prompting the possibility of legal action from Spangler.

Previous Coverage: Knox County sheriff, mayor at odds on budget increase

Now, a compromise has been met. Jacobs announced that he had approved a pay increase for patrol officers and corrections officers. The agreement, which will go into effect on July 1, should it pass a County Commission vote, will increase the salary of patrol officers to $51,100 and increase the salary of corrections officers to $50,100.

That means the the Knox County Sheriff’s Office will offer the fourth-highest pay rate for patrol officers in the state, and the second-highest in East Tennessee, only behind Hamilton County. Corrections officers will earn the second-highest pay across the state and the highest in East Tennessee.

KCSO employees will also receive the same pay increases as other Knox County employees and be able to participate in the Knox County continuing education program, which offers resources for those seeking higher education.

The agreement doesn’t come without costs, however. KCSO will have to cut 29 unfilled corrections positions and pensionable pay will be capped at three percent. Tax payers should not see an increase in taxes, though, according to Jacobs.

Going forward, the two said they will approach the Knox County Commission about implementing a $10 booking fee for county jails. The two are also planning on working on legislation aimed at increasing recruitment efforts.

The agreement is set for one year, and the two will work on future budgets together.