CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Delegates Jordan Hill, R-Nicholas, and Kayla Kessinger, R-Fayette, today said they were pleased to hear that state corrections officers will receive the 5-percent pay raise approved in the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Bill in addition to the pay raises that were separately approved in House Bill 4142.
“Our corrections officers work daily surrounded by some of the most heinous elements of our society, and I’m glad we’re doing everything we can to fairly compensate them for their work,” Delegate Hill said.
“We can’t expect first-class security with fast-food wages,” Delegate Kessinger said. “I’m happy that our prison and jail employees will be given this additional boost in their wages on July 1.”
Prison and jail workers had already been approved, through the passage of House Bill 4142, for three $2,000 pay increases to be implemented on July 1 over each of the next three years. However, there was a question as to whether these employees would also receive the across-the-board 5-percent pay raise that lawmakers intended to provide for all state employees in the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Bill.
On Thursday evening, delegates were told corrections officers would receive both raises.
Delegate Kessinger represents the 32nd District, which includes the Mount Olive Correctional Complex, while a number of people who live in Delegate Hill’s district, District 41, work at the facility.
“The workers at Mount Olive deal daily with the worst of the worst of our state’s prisoners, yet officials there have difficulty attracting and keeping qualified officers and staff due to low pay,” Delegate Kessinger said. “If we don’t have adequate staff, we run the risk of prison riots or inmate escapes, which could put our entire area in jeopardy.”
“My constituents who work at this facility are subject to long hours and forced overtime to keep this facility running and secure,” Delegate Hill said. “Increasing their pay will help make sure they have the help they need to operate Mount Olive, while also helping them better provide for their families.”
The House of Delegates and state Senate have both unanimously approved their versions of the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Bill, both containing the 5-percent employee pay raises, and once they reconcile their slight differences, the bill will be sent to the Governor for his signature.