Floyd County government lost another good employee this week when building inspector Jimmy Whitten left to take a similar job with Carroll County.

Money, of course, was the central issue. Whitten says Carroll County doubled his salary and that is important in these tough economic times, especially for a man who hopes to retire soon and whose retirement income is based on his last few years of earnings.

Floyd’s pay scale for county employees, teachers and other public servants is among the lowest in the Commonwealth and we’ve lost good deputies and others to nearby jurisdictions that offer better salaries and improved benefits.

Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Jeff Dalton told me once that he could make more money as a beginning customer service representative at EchoStar in Christiansburg than he earns as the third ranking member of the county police force.  At current pay scales, a sheriff’s deputy with a wife and two kids qualifies for food stamps if he or she is the sole income earner for the family. There’s something wrong with a pay structure that places more value on sitting on your butt eight hours a day fielding customer complaints than it does on someone who lays their life on the line protecting the citizens and laws of our county.