SUNBURY — With salary and benefits combined, a corrections officer can earn between $44,000 and $58,000 during the first year on the job at the Northumberland County Jail, according to information provided as part of a discussion about staff turnover during Wednesday’s prison board meeting.
Commissioner Sam Schiccatano believes turnover of corrections officers is not just a problem Northumberland County is experiencing.
He tasked Warden Bruce Kovach with finding out how much surrounding counties pay their corrections officers.
“I have heard other counties’ salaries may be higher, but our benefits are much better,” Schiccatano said.
Following the meeting, he said the base salary for an officer is $27,300. With a health insurance plan for a single person, salary and benefits would total $43,321.
If the officer selects a family health insurance, salary and benefits would total $57,559.
Kovach said, the prison has 83 full-time staff members. Of those, 73 are corrections officers. The prison also has five part-time officers. Those individuals do not wish to be full-time.
Kovach said five new officers will start on Monday.
He said a consultant has recommended the prison employ 79 full-time officers. The county is still waiting to receive state recommendations.
“I don’t anticipate ever being at 100%, with turnovers,” Kovach said. “We are striving to achieve 100%.”
He noted that turnover of corrections officers is common and said he recently learned New York state is recruiting officers in Virginia.
Sheriff Robert Wolfe said the high turnover rate is nothing new for the county, as the same problem was experienced at the old prison.
“This is not unique to our new jail,” Wolfe said.
Kovach also noted that the jail has brought on quality employees.
“We are bringing in some good people,” he said. “We are growing, maturing. We are getting a good core group of people in. I am happy with our new recruits ... our senior members.”
Kovach said the jail now houses 276 inmates. It has a capacity of 284.
Of the county’s current inmate population, 14 are from Schuylkill County, four from Union County and three from Snyder.
In June, Kovach said, the county netted $40,000 in revenue by housing inmates from other counties. He said there are various reasons why county transfer inmates to other counties.
“If they have to separate (inmates) or have conflict issues, they like to transfer inmates,” he said.