SUNBURY — Members of the Northumberland County Prison Board on Wednesday continued a conversation about how to retain correctional officers at the new jail in Coal Township.
At a public meeting on Wednesday, Commissioner Sam Schiccatano asked Warden Bruce Kovach to gather data about salaries, benefits and turnover rates of neighboring correctional facilities. The subject of increasing starting wage and decreasing overtime hours for jail guards was also brought up at Tuesday's public commissioner meeting.
The prison has 83 total employees, including 73 full-time guards. Kovach said five more guards are starting Monday.
"I don't anticipate ever being at 100 percent," said Kovach. "In 30 years of corrections and working at various levels, we've never been at 100 percent. We strive to be there. We go through the hiring process non-stop. It's a continuous flow in and out."
At Tuesday's meeting, the commissioners said there have been discussions to raise the starting salary above $12.50. The topic was brought up by Fran Ruzicka, of Sunbury, who has two sons working at the prison. She originally came to public meetings in April to urge county officials to solve the overtime issue because she was worried about the safety of her sons and other correctional officers. She came to the meeting on Wednesday with the same request.
Schiccatano said a correctional officer's total compensation is between $44,000 and $58,000 when considering wages and benefits, depending on single or family health benefits.
The jail had 276 inmates in June with 14 from Schuylkill County, four from Union and three from Snyder, according to the warden's report.