Board recommends $30,000 pay raise for DOC chief

Saturday, February 25th 2006, 11:24 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The state Board of Corrections on Friday recommended a $30,000 pay increase for Corrections Director Justin Jones, who took over the agency in November.

The action in a meeting at the state Capitol came a day after state House and Senate leaders announced they had reached an agreement on $24 million in emergency funding for prisons to help the Department of Corrections pay its bills for the fiscal year ending June 30.

The supplemental funding plan included pay raises of $2,800 a year for correctional officers, probation and parole officers and others that work at state prisons. It did not include money for pay increases for employees that work at DOC headquarters in Oklahoma City.

Robert Rainey, chairman of the Corrections Board, said he strongly recommended the pay raise for Jones and said raises are needed from the bottom to the top of corrections personnel.

Rainey said in the six years he has been on the board, the DOC has had three directors.

It's a demanding job equivalent to running a Fortune 500 company, he said.

``It's a 24-7 job. It just never stops,'' the board chairman said.

The proposed raise will have to be approved by the Legislature in the agency's regular appropriation.

Rainy also took note of promises that the era of significant underfunding for the DOC will end this year, based on statements of legislative leaders.

Both House and Senate leaders say they want to make an appropriation to the DOC this year that will be sufficient to carry the agency through the entire fiscal year and not require supplemental funding in February or March.

The DOC has had to get emergency funding to carry it through for nine of the last 11 fiscal years.

Thursday's announcement of a House-Senate agreement on supplemental funding of $24 million ended months of fighting between the two legislative bodies over the issue.

The Democrat-controlled Senate appropriated $11 million at a special session in late August to speed up the hiring of correctional officers, but the Republican-led House refused to meet.