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Sheriff asks for vacation and sick days dating to 1998

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
Rowan Sheriff George Wilhelm is asking the county to grant him vacation and sick days going back 11 years.
Getting credit for sick time and vacation time for more than a decade would add more than one year to Wilhelm’s retirement benefits.
Wilhelm made the request in a letter to County Manager Gary Page and other county officials.
Page said Tuesday that he plans to check into the request and discuss it with county commissioners.
Over the past several months, Wilhelm has talked with county officials about retiring and getting the free health insurance benefit.
At this point, Rowan officials say, Wilhelm is not eligible for the free insurance under the county plan.
But Wilhelm told the Post earlier this year he isn’t going to retire and plans to seek re-election to a fourth term as sheriff in 2010.
In his letter, Wilhelm noted that neither the sheriff nor the register of deeds is given sick days or vacation days.
“… I believe the county should have to compensate the sheriff in the same way as his employees. That is to grant the sheriff sick and vacation days to accrue for his retirement. This is a benefit being denied to the sheriff and register of deeds in Rowan County. There is no reason why this can’t be done,” Wilhelm wrote.
“I am officially requesting that the sheriff and register of deeds be given the same benefits as other department heads in Rowan County,” he continued. “I am also officially requesting that I be given the days owed me retroactive to December of 1998.”
Wilhelm took office as sheriff in December 1998.
He went on to ask for details on the county policy regarding the benefits package for the sheriff and register of deeds. “We should be reasonably compensated just as other county paid personnel,” he wrote.
Wilhelm’s current annual salary is $103,154.
Ken Deal, the county’s director of administration, said some counties treat the sheriff and register of deeds as they do other department heads.
As it stands now in Rowan, the sheriff and register of deeds have virtually unlimited sick leave and vacation time. But they don’t fill out a time sheet.
All other county employees, including the county manager and all department heads, fill out a time sheet that includes sick days and vacation days.
County employees get 12 days of sick leave per year which can accumulate and be counted toward retirement.
County employees can accumulate vacation time up to 30 days. Days in excess of 30 roll over into sick leave.
An employee with less than two years gets 10 days of vacation each year. An employee with 20 years gets 21 days of vacation each year.

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