VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — The Volusia County corrections officers say they are working with low pay and even lower staffing.
They took it to the county commissioners to plead their case in October, but they still sit at an impasse with the county on a new contract.
Corrections Officer Kaitilin Clark has been with Volusia County for six years.
In that time, Clark said things have gotten worse, “I got to work every day knowing that I might die, and I risk that for $22 an hour.”
While there’s a nationwide shortage of officers, including in neighboring Orange County, the problems here appear to be growing.
The county gave us staffing numbers that have fallen since 2020, but so has the inmate population.
At the end of 2022, the vacancy rate was 18 percent, they have not given us percentages yet for years past.
The county did not grant our request for an interview but says recruiting efforts are underway to reduce overtime and help with retention.
As for salaries, the county manager says the pay is in line with other counties.
So we checked, and Orange County starts at $22.98, Osceola County comes in at $24.04 an hour, and at least a dollar more than Volusia, at $21.32 an hour.
The county did not grant our request for an interview on the matter, but publicly, the county manager says this meeting is because of an unsettled contract with the corrections officers.
George Recktenwald said, “I think what you are seeing today is definitely something that was planned and part of their negotiation tactic.”
The union tells us they could picket next month if the contract negotiations can’t be settled.
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