Wake County leaders raise concerns that sheriff isn’t following policies when hiring, giving raises

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – At least two Wake County leaders are raising concerns that Sheriff Gerald Baker is not following proper county policy when it comes to hiring and giving raises.

The concerns are outlined in several memos CBS 17 obtained from county leaders to Baker.

On July 26, Wake County’s Chief Financial Officer expressed concern, saying they’d been working with the sheriff’s office for several months. As with any transition, they expected a period of adjustment, but the department wasn’t following “policies, procedures and guidelines.”

On Sept. 18, the county manager sent a memo to Baker. It states the department needs to get approval from human resources before hiring or promoting people.

The memo goes on to say not doing so “adds risks when employees are placed in positions they are not qualified for.”

The same memo from Sept. 18 cites instances where the sheriff’s office took jobs at the detention center and converted them to senior positions with higher pay. The memo said that goes against the sheriff’s claim they need more detention officers.

The county manager sent another memo on Sept. 26. It said that, despite the previous meeting to address the concerns, three times that month there were issues with promoting employees.

According to that memo, on Sept. 13, the sheriff’s office requested an employee receive a 10-percent raise to take effect months prior.

The office also requested another employee receive a more than 20-percent raise and be paid retroactively.

The memo states both instances go against county policy.

On Sept. 23, the sheriff’s office put in a request to promote an employee to a Seargent when positions were available, the memo said.

In another July memo, the county outlines concerns that the sheriff’s office hired vendors for food services and medical testing without competing contracts. In some cases, the memo said, they did not notify vendors when the relationship was terminated.

County leaders declined CBS 17’s interview request Thursday.

In response to the concerns outlined in the memos, the sheriff’s office issued a statement:

“Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker and his leadership team continues to work with the County Manager David Ellis, members of the Board of Commission and County Staff to examine policies and procedures that improve the business practices of the Sheriff’s Office.

Through our discussions with county staff, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office has only one goal in mind – to save the taxpayers money, through the implementation of practices that improve processes, while negotiating contracts that have been identified as unfavorable to the county. The Sheriff’s Office has renegotiated purchasing contracts, through updated policies that have saved taxpayers thousands of dollars.

Changes in personnel matters have been implemented for the purposes of efficiency and accountability, and providing services, while protecting the citizens of Wake County.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office is committed in providing solutions and will avoid finger-pointing, as we continue to work in a collaborative effort to move this office forward.”

The memos and other documents released to CBS 17 are available below.

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