Tuesday, October 11, 2016

[Yuba County] Three-year, 8 percent pay hike for Juvenile Hall officers finalized

Yuba County officials hope an 8 percent wage hike over a three-year period will mitigate personnel recruitment and retention issues at Yuba-Sutter Juvenile Hall.
The facility will transition into a tri-county facility, serving Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties, in the near future.
After nine meetings over three months, Yuba County and the probation/peace officers' union came to an agreement that includes pay raises for Juvenile Hall correctional officers, who will become Tri-County Juvenile Rehabilitation Facility employees once it opens.
Theresa Dove Weber, superintendent of Institutions, said Monday that following negotiations this spring, correctional officers were issued a pay raise of 3 percent in July, as well as a one-time $800 bonus. The officers will see 2.5 percent raises in July of the next two years.
"It all started with me wondering how we could get a larger pool of applicants for the JCO positions," Dove Weber said in an email. "In looking at the situation, salary came up as an issue. This started before the grand jury inspection."
The 2015-16 Sutter County Grand Jury Report, filed June 24, claimed that Yuba County Juvenile Hall is "currently suffering from a shortage of employees and is having a difficulty retaining personnel due to uncompetitive wages. With a new facility on the horizon, the (grand jury) can foresee a problem with retaining the quality personnel needed to operate the state-of-the-art facility. The pay scale is in need of a comprehensive salary and benefit survey, to reduce turnover, increase recruitment and to retain quality personnel."
Jill Abel, Yuba County Human Resources director, said negotiations between the county and the Yuba County Probation Peace Officers Association began March 9 and came to a close June 15. Contracts for correctional officers expired June 30. She said that the negotiations went "extremely well," and said the goal was to be "fiscally responsible... and address (the) issues as well."
In addition to the "equity adjustment" and one-time lump sum payment of $800 (in lieu of a cost of living adjustment), Abel said in an email that all YCPPOA members will receive a 2 percent cost of living adjustment on July 1, 2017, and another 2 percent on July 1, 2018. The agreement also stated that YCPPOA members will begin paying 3 percent of the employer's share of the CalPERS pension costs over the next two years, in 1.5 percent intervals.
Dove Weber said that including the pay increase, a juvenile corrections officer I makes $2,754-$3,030 per month; a juvenile corrections officer II makes $3,191-$3,511 per month; and a supervising juvenile corrections officer starts out at $3,699 per month.
She also said that the officers are now working 12-hour shifts three to four days a week.
"It has definitely helped with recruitment," Dove Weber said.
Weber said the new facility, which will stand across the street from Juvenile Hall on the west end of 14th Street in Marysville, has hired three new officers since mid-September, with a fourth to start in the next week or so.
Dove Weber said that the facility is allocated for seven supervising juvenile corrections officers and 25 juvenile corrections officers. She said they are currently down two SJCOs and two JCOs.
"Extra help allocations are left to our discretion," she said. "We currently have four extra help with six in background. All of our recent full-time hires have come from our extra help list."
She said that according to state title 15, the mandated ratio of officers-to-inmates is one staff to 10 youth during wake hours, and one staff to 30 youth during night hours for juvenile hall. For the camp — Maxine Singer Youth Guidance Center — the ratio is 1 staff to 15 youth during wake hours and 1 staff to 30 youth during night hours.
"As the population flexes in both institutions, it is difficult to give an exact staff-to-youth ratio," Dove Weber said. "We are in compliance with Title 15."
As of Monday, she said there are 22 children in juvenile hall and 19 in the camp.
Plans for new facility on track
Doug McCoy, Yuba County director of Administrative Services, said plans for the new 48-bed juvenile facility are moving along with the project timeline.
He said that in the coming weeks, each county's board of supervisors will need to approve a measure essentially showing they have their portions of the funding set aside for the project.
The Juvenile Hall agenda item was to appear on the Yuba County Board of Supervisors agenda Tuesday; on the Colusa County Board of Supervisors agenda Oct. 18; and at the Sutter County Board of Supervisors meeting Oct. 11.
McCoy said Yuba County should receive requests for qualifications back from a short list of potential construction companies by mid-October. By the end of the year, he said, the county should be sending out requests for proposals with compensated preliminary designs.
The project is expected to break ground in the spring.
Supervisors for each county had argued the breakdown of the cost-sharing formula of the facility's operation, finally settling on a usage fromula, rather than a fixed cost. Yuba and Sutter counties each will cover 44 percent, and Colusa County will cover 12 percent for operational costs.
He said those percentages would be evaluated each year based on the county-by-county juvenile population breakdown. But for construction, he said, the counties will still be sticking to the original 40/40/20 breakdown.
October 4, 2016
The Appeal-Democrat
By Rachel Rosenbaum

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