Frustrated men and woman in uniform met today in front of the Macon County Courthouse to protest low wages. Those who work for the Macon County Sheriff's Office say they can't live off of what they're making so they're demanding more money.
They're trusted to keep the residents of Macon County safe but those who work for the Sheriff's Office say they're barely making it paycheck to paycheck.
This is a Macon County Sheriff's Deputy's check. It's 594 dollars...for two weeks of work...at 40 hours per week. Howard Ray has been with the Macon County Sheriff's Office since 1991. He says although the cost of living has gone up, his pay has not.
"I work two jobs and I have a very sick wife at home and this is not going to take care of me an my wife."
Other employees with the Sheriff's Office are receiving similar wages.
"I started out at 7.50," says Tish Crawford. "After my six month training, I went to eight dollars and I've been at eight dollars ever since."
Crawford is a 911 dispatcher who says most people who work at the Sheriff's Office don't get paid enough to make ends meet.
"I want them to be able to eat," she says. "I want them to be able to live, be able to pay their 400 dollar light bill in Tuskegee. This is not a means of living. I actually moved out of Tuskegee because I can't afford to live here."
"I cant even expect them to work for me and do a good job for me with that kind of money," says newly elected sheriff Andre Brunson.
Brunson is not yet in office but came to show his support. He says he's been invited to the next Macon County Commission meeting to discuss the budget.
"I know they're underpaid. I know for different reasons that they don't have it in the budget but the thing is to work it in the budget and pay them according to what everybody else makes around the city and the county."
"Somebody either is going to have to cough it up or I'll just leave it like it is and I'll go ahead and retire," says Ray. "Because I'm not going to work for nothing. I've got to deal with my wife being sick with a five hundred ninety-something check every two weeks."
We did speak with the current sheriff, David Warren, by phone who says he's been working for years to get a pay raise for the Sheriff's Office employees. He says once Victoryland was shut down, it really hurt the county's finances and says tells us he's had two of his own payroll checks bounce.
The County Commission sets the budget so any increase in pay for the sheriff's sffice employees would have to be approved by them. We called Louis Maxwell, who's the Chairman of the Macon County Commission but our calls went unanswered.