Henderson Co. eyes raises for jail employees; approves beginning pay hike


HENDERSON, Ky. – A critical staff shortage at Henderson County Jail prompted judges to raise starting salaries and promised an increase for seasoned staff in the near future.

During Tuesday’s Henderson County Tax Court session, jailer Amy Brady presented a plan to increase the base salary to around $ 15 – and then to $ 16 after a person was employed for six months.

Brady, who recently spoke about the hiring crisis at a budget workshop, said the plan also included increases for seasoned employees, some of whom she believed worked 12-hour shifts for 11 and 12 days to meet the facility’s needs cover up.

“The records you have show the current pay rate and a raise that I want to put in place as soon as possible,” Brady said. “It’s based on longevity, attendance and the people who worked during the pandemic.

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Supervisors and office staff have worked in jail to help overcome the hiring crisis, she said. Brady emphasized that they want to hire people who are looking for a career and want to stay long-term. “If we don’t have people who can learn the prison’s locations and daily operations, there is no future,” she said.

Magistrate Butch Puttman asked how many deputy prison guard positions were currently open.

“We’re 42,” she said. “And we have one on FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) and two more preparing to go out on FMLA.

“(The staff) is tired,” said Brady.

“I think everyone supports this move, given the situation,” said Brad Schneider, Henderson County’s executive judge. “We are going to discuss the second phase of your proposal, namely a 4 percent pay increase for everyone in prison,” which goes into fiscal year 2021-2022.

Initially, the plan appeared to get preliminary approval from the judges, with Judge Charlie McCollom making a motion to increase the starting wage for incoming MPs and those who have been there for more than six months.

Schneider then made it clear that Brady’s proposal also provided compensation for experienced employees.

McCollom agreed that anyone who exceeded the probationary period should receive a raise to $ 16 an hour.

“The un parole MPs should go to $ 16 an hour. They don’t want anyone to be new and earn more than the people who were there,” he said.

Then there seemed to be some confusion about which long-term employees should receive salary increases.

Most panel members said they had not received data on whether the wage increase would apply to current employees and could not consider immediate increases for those already earning $ 16 an hour or more without verifying the information .

Brady said information was emailed to the judges on April 28.

“If we don’t change the wage rate, you will be hiring new people who make more money than people who have been there longer,” said Brady.

“That’s more … I don’t have time for the calculations today. I don’t know what it’s going to cost us. I can’t vote on all of these other raise because … I didn’t. It did. It did.” Thrown here at me, “said McCollom.

He advocated an increase in the starting salary to take on staff, but wanted more time to think about increases for staff who worked in prison for more than the six-month probationary period.

Salary increases for longer-term employees “should come at a budget meeting,” he said.

Schneider asked Brady if it would be beneficial to raise the starting salary (Tuesday) but re-examine the other increases at the next meeting.

Brady said it would cause more problems, if only briefly, for new hires to earn as much or more than people who have been there longer.

Schneider then suggested waiting and approving the entire plan, with the increases for everyone and a new starting pay for new MPs, when the budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 is ratified in a matter of weeks.

District Attorney Steve Gold also suggested that pay ranges could be approved for specific years in office, and Brady would have the discretion to give those increases.

Ultimately, the tax court approved an increase in the starting salary for deputy prison guards to $ 15 and then to $ 16 after the six-month probationary period expired.

Several judges and the judge agreed to meet the prison staff in person, explain the plan, and convince them of the upcoming pay increases for everyone.

“It’s a tough job and we have to do something,” said Magistrate Keith Berry.

Gold said he had a lot of respect for Brady and the prison staff.

“The pressure cooker that is the prison is very difficult. Last year they had been out there … everything that went with it, they felt a lot of that pressure. Dealing with budget problems, COVID for last year, the staff problems, that comes with it … something must be done about the payment, “said Gold. “I work with the prison guard on a regular basis and see what she’s dealing with, and I know it’s a real problem out there.”

A raise, he said, would show prison staff that they are valued.

In addition, Gold said, “Every inmate has value. And we have a constitutional duty to look after them and ensure they are properly cared for.”

He said taking care of the inmates starts with taking good care of the prison staff.

At the end of the tax court session, Schneider said, “I really want to be clear – we are going to help all the staff in the prison. We are going to deal with it. We intend to follow the inmate’s suggestions regarding salaries as we go into the new fiscal year.” . And that’s only six weeks away. “

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