Boyle, Mercer debate pay boost for jail workers

June 13, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - It's up to the fiscal courts of both Boyle and Mercer counties to decide if deputy jailers at Boyle County Detention Center get an extra 1 percent raise plus 50 cents an hour beginning July 1.

Boyle County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder met with Mercer County Fiscal Court in a special meeting Friday afternoon to propose to Mercer magistrates that they vote to grant the raise.

Not all jail employees will get the 50-cent increase, at least under Wilder's proposal. Among those not on the list to receive the proposed raise are the jailer, nurse, captain, chief deputy and cook.

Wilder said Boyle County's treasury has dropped to about $500,000 and when he was running for office he promised Boyle County voters that the surplus would not go below $1.5 million. Nevertheless, he believes jail employees deserve more than the $8.50-an-hour entry wages for deputy jailers.


"What sent me over the edge was that to be puked on, sworn at and the chance of getting AIDS and hepatitis I just wouldn't do this for less than $9 an hour,'' he said.

Capt. Phil Yates wondered how the decision was made to exclude certain positions from the raise.

"The chief deputy and captain and nurse are right in the middle of things, " Yates said.

Wilder said it had not been an easy decision. He said a wage survey had been conducted for Boyle County by Bluegrass Area Development District.

"Your salary was more appropriate than the deputies on the floor,'' Wilder said, adding he hoped the increase would slow down turnover. "Three good deputies just told me they're going (to work) at Northpoint."

All Boyle County employees got a 2.5 percent wage increase at the beginning of the year and they all will get the 1 percent increase July 1 if Boyle County Fiscal Court approves it.

Each county would pay a percentage of the raise

The cost of the raises would be borne by the fiscal courts of both counties based on a formula derived by the percentage of jail population of each county. Mercer County currently pays 36 percent of the costs of operating the jail and Boyle County pays 64 percent. Wilder said that would mean Mercer would pay $11,200 for the wage increase.

While taking no stand on the proposed increase, Mercer County Judge-Executive John Trisler complemented Boyle County Jailer Barry Harmon for his management of the jail.

"I've had eight months to watch jail operation and it is done well and that's thanks to Barry,'' he said.

Five of the six magistrates were present for the special meeting, but they agreed to delay a vote until the next regular meeting on June 22.

Both Fiscal Courts meet that day, but Mercer magistrates may have the deciding vote, since they meet earlier in the day than Boyle County Fiscal Court.

"If we do it and you don't, we won't do it,'' Wilder said. "There is no county line out there as far as the jail is concerned."

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