County Wage Issue Looms

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The list of problems impacting operations at the Stone County Jail is growing exponentially, and current staff is concerned about maintaining the ability to keep it running.

Stone County Quorum Court members were caught off guard last Thursday night as a contingency of jailers and dispatchers essentially gave the court an ultimatum to raise salaries or manage a dwindling staff approaching numbers where it would be “impossible” to operate the jail safely and according to state standards.

The latest development comes during a year of an ongoing state police investigation into more than $70,000 in unaccounted funds, accumulated staff compensatory time exceeding 3,000 hours, skyrocketing prisoner medical costs, a jail facility declared out of compliance with state standards, and proposed jail construction bids that came in more than $3.5 million over budget.

Jail Administrator Christina Oliver told the Leader on Friday morning that four staff members turned in resignations last Thursday, those resignations effective in two weeks. There is already a shortage in jail staff because of low wages, she said. Nine jailers and dispatchers are currently employed at a facility fully staffed at 15.

“So, we’ve got four who are about to walk and that takes us down to five. We’re okay today, but in two weeks it becomes a situation that’s not safe and unmanageable.”

See the full story in the Oct. 20 issue.

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