Sheriff Bensely has chosen detective Mike Shea to ascend to the rank of Undersheriff. Shea already applied to the position at the lower salary, but Bensley negotiated a nifty raise for his buddy in blue before Shea accepted the position.
Shea went to NMC police academy (I would make a joke, but the locals get their bees in their bonnets when you try and point out that NMC and Harvard are two different things). After graduating from the local cop shop, he worked in various positions in the sheriff’s department including the dive team.
Bensley initially posted the job at $83,338. Shea applied.
That wasn’t good enough for Bensley. He put on his big boy suit and trotted over to the Grand Traverse County Commission to ask for more money for the position. They agreed to raise the pay to $88,500. Bensley then reposted the job…and picked the person he was planning to pick in the first place. He said that the job salary is what caused the delay in picking someone. That makes no sense – he didn’t know who he wanted when the job was posted at $83K, but all of a sudden it became clear at $88? Let’s call a spade a thin-blue spade. He wanted more money for his buddy, and he got it.
And Shea already makes it clear that he thinks he’s next in line – he plans to run for Sheriff.
So here’s the interesting thing on that – Shea clearly thinks that the undersheriff’s position is a political stepping stone. So why wasn’t a salary that’s similar to the captains appropriate, given that the undersheriff position has the intangible benefit of political clout? (Supposedly. I don’t see Grand Traverse County undersheriff as the summit with the view but that’s just me.) There is a distinction between a sheriff’s department employee and the undersheriff – one is next in line, and the other isn’t.