Auditors: Correctional officers in Georgia paid less than other Southeastern states
by The Associated Press
January 04, 2014 11:41 PM | 569 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA — 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 reported 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.”

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