Staff at the Douglas County Jail will see a sizable wage increase - one that board members hope will correct some of the issues surrounding the facility. At their meeting on October 21, the Douglas County Board unanimously voted to approve the increase on the wage scale.

Now that the measure has passed, Douglas County jail staff can expect to see "[p]ay increases rang[ing] from $1.20 to $1.38 per hour".  And while the increase will be welcome for Douglas County staffers, they'll still trail behind similar staff at nearby county jails.  "The change puts the hourly range at $22.11 to $25.10 for jailers and $25.47 to $28.91 for jail sergeants, still less than the pay scale for jail staff in Carlton and St. Louis County".

The move is a two-part vehicle that's designed to solve staffing issues.  With the higher wages, county officials hope to attract more candidates to apply for jobs and to retain a larger percentage of their current staff.  Additionally - once open slots are filled, the effort should aim to correct the massive amount of overtime that current employees are working.  According to the Superior Telegram, "[j]ailers are working an average of 17 hours of overtime each pay period, with 24 people covering the shifts of 36".

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

Board members also hope that the wage increase will stem the tide as far as retention of employees goes.  Since January 2020, 26 jailers have left the positions they held with Douglas County.  As reported earlier, turnover is a major issue at the jail, with "only....five people that have been there over three years".

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County officials have also tried thinking outside of the box this past year, too in terms of recruiting new employees. They recently sent out postcards to people "ages 21-50 recruiting for open positions in the jail and dispatchers in the emergency communications center".

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