|Tue, May 22, 2018 05:27 AM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
|Salary hike is nixed by jail board|
Red ink in budget leads to 4-2 board vote against raises
PAINTSVILLE — With projections of a $370,000 budget deficit for the 2003-04 fiscal year, the regional jail authority rejected Wednesday the approval of a five-percent, across-the-board pay hike.
Jail staffers, who regularly participate in the board’s monthly meetings, said that the funds were available for the pay increase if jail officials eliminated overtime, and one board member cited the board’s re-assuming of bond payments from the four participating counties in support of the salary hike.
Prior to Wednesday’s talks about the pay raises, the regional jail authority held first reading of a budget amendment, reflecting a more than $100,000 spending increase for the bond payments and the recent hiring of two additional employees.
Avonelle VanHoose, the jail authority’s treasurer, noted that the elimination of overtime pay would cover the costs for the salary hikes.
Regional jail administrator Henry “Butch” Williams said employees could be required to take off the next day if overtime becomes an issue.
“What happens if (you’re) in a situation you have to have overtime,” board member John David Preston said, noting that the budget prepared for the board’s consideration did not include the salary increases.
Preston added that the budget reflects the jail will be operating on less money than it takes in during the 2003-04 fiscal year.
“It’s the jail’s money,” VanHoose said, referring to carryover funds in the general fund. “Why can’t we use it?”
“We’re in hard times,” she added. “That’s why we saved the money.”
“I just don’t want to start out the fiscal year, assuming we’re going to have a deficit...” Preston said, noting “that’s assuming the revenue numbers are accurate.”
“As long as we’ve got the money, it’s harsh to tell them they can’t have the raise,” Lawrence County board representative Tommy Queen said.
Board member S.D. Moore, a Martin County rep., said he supported the five-percent salary hike because the jail authority agreed to pay bond payments for the counties.
On a 4-2 vote, the regional jail authority, consisting of six of nine panel members, shot down a motion by Moore to approve the pay increases. Moore and Queen, who seconded the motion, were the only two board members to support the motion, with Preston, acting chairman Scott Perry, Greg Allen and Frankie Griffith voting no. Board member Bob Castle could not vote because he has a relative employed at the jail.
In other business, Williams reported that the first results of employee random drug testing were in and that all five guards passed.
The jail authority met behind closed doors during Wednesday’s regular meeting to discuss pending and potential litigation. No action was taken pertaining to those talks.
Board chairman Michael Prater and board members Bill Triplett and Roger Jude were not present for the regular meeting.