RALEIGH, N.C. — When state lawmakers return to Raleigh on Tuesday, they’ll get back to work on crafting the next state budget.
One group keeping a very close eye on the budget negotiations are state troopers. They are calling for a pay raise.
“I couldn’t see myself sitting behind a desk or doing anything other than what I’m doing right now and I love it,” said Steven Scherbekow, a trooper with a decade of experience with the highway patrol.
Scherbekow, who is also a board member of the North Carolina Troopers Association, knows what’s at stake in this year’s state budget negotiations.
“All we’re asking for is fair compensation,” said Scherbekow.
Scherbekow is concerned for veteran troopers.
“We are far behind the fair market average,” said Scherbekow.
While the House is putting the finishing touches on its budget proposal, the Senate’s is out, and budget writers point to the fact troopers would get step raises.
“We wanted to give raises to everyone and we knew that troopers would be getting their step raises, and a lot of other state employees would be getting step raises and that is a raise,” said Sen. Brent Jackson, (R) Senate Appropriations Co-Chair.
But Scherbekow says that benefits troopers who are earlier in their careers who start at a little more than $36,000 a year. He tells us once troopers reach their sixth year, they’re at the top of the pay scale at $59,000.
“Veteran troopers don’t get anything with the exception of cost of living increases,” said Scherbekow.
As for the big picture, Jackson said, “It was pre-agreed upon that we would have a spending cap of $22.9 billion.”
Scherbekow said he knows what the job means to troopers and he hopes others will recognize that, as well.
“You’re going to call on us and expect us, and all we’re asking for is that you would put us at the top of the priority when it comes to spending,” he said.
He said he would like to see the top of the pay scale about $10,000 higher than it currently is.