Commissioners review staffing proposals for jail

first_imgFARMINGTON – County commissioners received a proposal to add more part-time staff to the Franklin County Detention Center Tuesday, with the assistant jail administrator warning that current staffing levels were stretching the full-time staff thin.Lt. John Donald, the assistant jail administrator with nearly 20 years of experience at FCDC, said that staffing shortages within the part-time staff associated with the current system resulted in higher overtime costs, denied earned time off and corrections officers sometimes working 18-hour shifts. Administrators were required to step in to assist jail operations or transport prisoners, Donald said, taking them away from other duties.“Currently, we cannot reliably schedule vacation or holiday time due to a lack of part-time corrections officers,” Donald said, “and the fact that our full-time officers cannot take every open shift.”The situation could result in greater turnover among the full-time staff, Donald warned. “We have a very good crop of officers in our employ and losing them will cost us far more in the long run than scheduling a few part-time officers,” Donald said.While the jail’s 32-inmate population is small compared to other facilities, Donald said, FCDC corrections officers dealt with the same issues, including contraband trafficking and inmates with mental health issues. As most of the population is pretrial, there are few opportunities for work programs, so officers end up doing a large proportion of the laundry and cleaning.Retaining part-time officers has been difficult due to the relatively low pay – Donald said an employee of local restaurants and hardware stores could make a similar amount with less stress – as well as an inability to guarantee hours. Donald noted that the county had three part-time officers hired last year and was no longer employing any of them.In the long term, Donald suggested increasing full-time staffing for corrections and transport officers. In the short term, Donald proposed hiring two part-time officers working a “rover schedule” of Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as a part-time utility/transport officer. With those officers scheduled at least 24 hours per week, Donald said that the guaranteed hours and consistent employment could help retain hires.The cost for a part-time officer for 12 months would be roughly $8,500, Donald said.The staffing proposal could be considered by the budget committee as part of the next budget cycle, commissioners suggested. For the eight months remaining in the current fiscal year, one possibility would be hiring the officers and attempting to recoup the cost in savings to overtime. Commissioners asked Donald to work out the potential overtime savings and get back to the board.County Clerk Julie Magoon said that the county’s auditor had indicated that the jail’s fund balance was $39,000 at the end of the previous fiscal year. That’s down significantly from the reserve the jail had when it reopened as a full-time facility back in 2015. Magoon said that the county was waiting on the final round of funding from the state.In related business, the board approved the hiring of two part-time corrections officers at FCDC.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *