Rogers County Criminal Justice Authority approved pay increases Thursday for jail employees.
Rogers County Commissioners Mike Helm and Kirt Thacker approved raises for all county employees in October, excluding the jail employees because it is operated by a trust.
The employees are “county” workers and receive the same health and other benefits as other employees.
The Criminal Justice Authority considered the pay increases to match the measure passed by Thacker and Helm.
The proposed raises will be the same as other county employees at $200 a month and cost approximately $96,000.
On Oct. 31, the other county employees received the new pay and $600 retroactive pay.
The commissioners, excluding Dan DeLozier, decided to use the county’s excess use tax funds to increase the pay of employees, according to Undersheriff Jon Sappington.
The Criminal Justice Authority pays approximately $430,000 annually in employee benefits, according to Sappington.
The authority also pays the employees payroll, Sappington said.
“I think the jail employees deserve the same raise as the rest of the county employees,” Sappington said. “Since the commissioners decided to make the raises countywide, the jail employees should not be punished.”
“At the end of the business day, it doesn’t matter what the commissioners do,” Helm said.
The board of county commissioners will be responsible for any shortfall in the jail, he said.
The issue with not giving the jail employee raises had to do with getting a recommendation from the jail authority, according to Helm.
Helm said it was about seeking input on the decision and following the contractual agreement with the trust authority.
Helm explained he voted to support the pay increases paid from the excess use tax and sales taxes because he questioned the effectiveness of economic development efforts in Rogers County.
The board of county commissioners did not hold back funding by excluding the jail employees; they were giving the trust authority a chance to give input on the decision, according to Helm.
Carryover funds from the 2012 fiscal year will be used to fund the pay increases, Sappington said.