Meadville Tribune

Local News

July 4, 2014

Wages increased for county jail part-timers

For the first time in almost six years, the pay rate for part-time corrections officers at the Crawford County jail has been increased.

Crawford County Salary Board on Thursday unanimously approved raising the hourly rate for per diem corrections officers from $8.50 to $10 per hour, effective July 14. The increase is the first in the rate since the third quarter of 2008.

Deputy Warden Ken Saulsberry sought the pay increase from the Crawford County Salary Board to help expand the pool of per diem corrections officers.

Per diem, or part-time, corrections officers are used by the jail to fill openings on shifts when full-time corrections officers are on vacation or out due to illness. Per diem officers do not receive any benefits from the county.

“We have had a hard time keeping staff because of the rate,” Saulsberry said. “We see a lot of people go to other jobs.”

All new per diem officers go through a four-week training period that costs the county $1,360 per person trained.

“They leave for whatever reason and it’s a waste of money,” Saulsberry said.

The jail has 41 full-time corrections officers to cover three shifts 24 hours per day.

The facility had 26 per diem officers in 2013, but that number had shrunk to eight per diem officers as of June, Saulsberry said.

Saulsberry said a check with jail officials in surrounding counties found Mercer County pays its per diem officers $13.25 per hour while Warren County pays $12.68 per hour. Saulsberry said officials in neighboring Erie County said Erie was having trouble keeping per diem officers because it, too, paid $8.50 hour. Venango County no longer has per diem employees, having instead moved its part-time staff to full-time status several years ago, he said.

The jail’s 2014 budget can absorb the increase in the per diem rate, as only 36 percent of the $210,000 in per diem salaries had been used through the first six months, Saulsberry said.

Saulsberry pointed out all 41 full-time corrections officers at the jail started as per diem officers.

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