cloudy
Monday May 25th, 2015 7:41PM

Pay for Ga. correctional officers trails Southeast

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia pays its correctional officers less than other Southeastern states, and it cost taxpayers roughly $30 million to retrain 3,000 replacements for officers who quit during the last financial year, according to state auditors.

The audit concluded that boosting pay alone may not reduce turnover. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( http://bit.ly/JAtUHd ) reported that auditors said long shifts and dangerous conditions were contributing to turnover in the state's Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice. Lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee sought the audit.

"I'm concerned about the turnover and I'm concerned about the low pay," Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles said. "It's one of those type things that if we don't address it aggressively it's going to continue."

It's unclear whether state leaders will act to raise pay. Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camillia, who chairs a House subcommittee that drafts the budget for public safety agencies, said policymakers need to fulfill promises made over the last few years to other law enforcement agencies that saw their funding dwindle during the last recession.

"The fact of the pay (is low) is something we have known for a while. The extent of the problem we did not know," Powell said. "It's serious. The extent of the problem is now quantifiable, and now we have to deal with it, to find the resources, to decide when and over what period of time we'll deal with it."

Auditors found there was a 31 percent turnover rate for correctional officers in the state Department of Corrections during the financial year ending June 30. The cost of replacing 2,100 officers who left was roughly $19.3 million. The turnover rate was 57 percent at the Department of Juvenile Justice, which spent $9.7 million to retrain 787 replacements.

Pay was among the key reasons that correctional officers quit, according to the audit. The starting pay for officers in the Georgia Department of Corrections was $24,322, which lagged each bordering state except for South Carolina. Some local governments in Georgia also pay their correctional officers more. Pay for correctional officers in Gwinnett County starts at $37,000.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 4 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 4 months ago )
Politics
Baseball: Gettys gem puts Red Elephants one win from AAAAA title
Gainesville’s Jonathan Gettys pitched a two-hit masterpiece to lead the Red Elephants to a 6-2 win over Greenbrier Monday in Game 1 of their best-of-three Class AAAAA state championship series.
9:00AM ( 13 hours from now )
Child airlifted to hospital after falling into pool
A four-year-old child was revived by family members after reportedly falling into a swimming pool in Banks County.
6:43PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Lula remembers on Memorial Day
With prayer, song and inspired speech, the City of Lula, its citizens and veterans joined the nation in remembering the nation's war dead this Memorial Day.
3:08PM ( 4 hours ago )
VIDEO: Memorial Day Tribute
As we honor our fallen service men and women, Commander of the Hall County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard, Jonathan Jackson, takes a moment to talk of the importance of Memorial Day and discuss what message we should take away as we remember our fallen heroes.
3:08PM ( 4 hours ago )
University of North Georgia softball team wins national championship
Junior pitcher Courtney Poole struck out four while giving up just two hits to lead the University of North Georgia softball team to a 5-0 win against Dixie State and the program's first national title.
By AccessWDUN staff
2:51PM ( 4 hours ago )