Court of Commissioners approves increases for MPs and jailers | News

The Anderson County Commissioners Court has approved a pay raise for employees of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and Jail.

In a presentation to the Court, Sheriff Rudy Flores suggested taking money budgeted in fiscal year 2022 for vacancies and using it to provide pay raises and help retain employees. he currently has on staff.

Flores has gone to court several times over employment and retention issues, paying close attention to the county’s pay scale for his employees.

“The economy has changed a lot over the past two years,” Flores said. “At the level we are paying, we are no longer able to attract candidates, despite my best efforts.”

Despite their attempts to advertise and organize job fairs, they did not receive any serious applications. Flores said most communities the size of Palestine and Anderson County pay between $50,000 and $60,000 a year.

“What we’re doing isn’t 100% working,” he said. “We have to increase it.”

Flores told the court Thursday that he recently lost deputies to the Grapeland Police Department.

He proposed to the Court to use unspent salary funds from the 2022 budget, suspend three patrol salaries and three of the prison staff salaries that they were unable to fill from the 2022 budget and distribute these funds among its staff.

“To retain the people I have, stop the bleeding while I continue to recruit and find new candidates,” Flores said.

The jail is one employee away from complying with state-mandated minimum staffing levels, which will require the county to house inmates in another county. County Judge Robert Johnston said housing an out-of-county inmate cost about $60 a day, with the added cost of all medical and transportation costs.

Flores said his staff operates on 12-hour shifts. In the prison, he is mandated by the state to have one jailer for every 48 people in custody. With staff available, he needs five jailers per shift each day, for four 12-hour shifts per week. To adequately cover it at the minimum level required, a total of 20 employees would be needed.

“I don’t have 20 employees, I have 15,” he said.

Flores said his jailers worked overtime and signed up to cover shifts to ensure the prison was always compliant.

“I’m proud to say that my staff are voluntarily signing up to cover these shifts,” he said. “They take pride in their work and say, ‘We won’t let this prison slip out of compliance with state law. We are too proud of what we do. We’ll cover that for you, sheriff. “

Flores told the court they should have one patrol sergeant and three assistants on duty per shift, but are currently working with two people per shift.

The proposed increases will raise the salaries of jailers from $34,728.75 to $40,000 and those of an assistant from $39,690 to $44,000.

The Court of Commissioners passed the point unanimously.

Prison Captain TJ Choate said he was grateful for what the Sheriff and Court of Commissioners had done for his prison staff.

“I have 14 jailers who are extremely dedicated and hard-working employees,” Choate said. “They are doing everything they can to make this situation work and to keep the prison in compliance. I am very proud of them and all they do every day and grateful to the Sheriff for working with the Court of Commissioners to increase their salaries.

Flores said this is just the first step in his plan to retain and recruit employees for his staff.

During the meeting, the Commissioners also approved:

• agenda items for approval, including budget amendments, payment of bills and utilities crossing county roads,

• and authorization for the Office of the Auditor to issue Requests for Proposals for Administrative Services and Requests for Qualifications for Professional Services, for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

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