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Officials discuss Carbon prison staffing issues

Published July 20. 2018 11:10PM

Carbon County prison officials want to know why there is such a high turnover of corrections officers.

On Wednesday, the county prison board discussed possibly instituting an exit survey or interview in the prison or the human resources department to find out the reasons corrections officers, primarily part-timers, are leaving. The discussion occurred following a question by Chris Lukasevich of Jim Thorpe, who asked if the county was conducting exit interviews for this purpose.

Deputy Warden Ryan Long said that the turnover percents vary from year to year.

“It seems like the younger corrections officers we have, they go back to school, seek other employment or look for a different career path,” he said.

“Or the job just isn’t for them,” Commissioner William O’Gurek added.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein said that he thinks a big reason for part-timers leaving is due to them looking for full-time employment, and they can’t afford to only work part-time.

Sheriff Anthony Harvilla, president of the prison board, said that he thinks the idea of an exit survey or interview is a good idea, because it will provide the county with data on reasons that could possibly be addressed.

“The corrections facility and sheriff’s office are more unique than other departments because we use our part-time people to supplement our complement, so it is important for us to know why part-time people are leaving,” Harvilla said. “If it is either because they are looking for full-time jobs or because they can’t make it without benefits or the pay is too low, that is something we should know.”

He said he thinks the board should ask the warden to look into implementing an exit survey or interview for this purpose.

In a related matter, the prison board hired nine additional corrections officers — seven full-time and two part-time.

In May, the county salary board established an additional four full-time positions at the prison.

At that time, the board said the move was to help offset the amount of overtime the county was paying out due to staffing issues at the prison.

In 2016, Carbon County paid approximately $400,000 in overtime costs as a result of staffing shortages.

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