JoCo approves $4.6M for retention bonuses for sheriff’s office and corrections workers

Johnson County's Board of County Commissioners has approved about $4.6 million in county reserve funding for retention bonuses in departments facing significant staff shortages. Image from jocosheriff.org.

The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners last week unanimously approved the use up to $4.6 million in county reserve funds to pay for retention bonuses for sheriff”s office and corrections department employees.

Why it matters: The move aims to address ongoing challenges these departments have faced and attracting and retaining workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where will the money go? The funding will go toward the sheriff’s office and corrections department — both of which, county staff said, don’t have the means in their existing budgets to pay for retention incentives.

  • The approved funds break down into maximum yearly totals of $2.3 million in each of the years 2022 and 2023.
  • That will be divided into $1.7 million per year for the sheriff’s office and $700,000 for the corrections department.
  • Employees in these two units can individually get up to $3,000 in retention bonus pay for both this year and next year with the funding.

Why it matters: Both the sheriff’s office and the corrections department have surpassed a 20% vacancy rate this year.

  • As of June, the sheriff’s office had 48 deputy position vacancies — 38 of which were deputy positions at the county jail.
  • According to county data, 26% of deputy posts at the county’s detention centers are staffed by current deputies working overtime.

What they’re saying: “We are struggling, at least in some areas of the organization, to be able to recruit and retain,” said deputy county manager Maury Thompson.