GUEST COMMENTARY: Corrections officers deserve fair pay raises

2013-07-10T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Corrections officers deserve fair pay raisesBy Ed Mattingly nwitimes.com
July 10, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It is this time of year that all Lake County employees start to have dreams that a pay raise might be in sight. As a correctional officer, our hopes have died years ago.

Year after year, the Lake County Council continues to state that they have no money in the budget to give out raises to the correctional staff. Last year, they found the money to give the sheriff and court employees a raise.

The Lake County Council has found money over the years to give themselves and others raises at one time or another. They have spent millions of dollars on renovations in the jail as well medical upgrades. Is this going to be the excuse that is used this time around?

The council and and the sheriff will not sit down and talk to our union bargaining committee. The correctional officers are currently working without a union contract because of the unwillingness to sit down face to face and to work out a deal. The cost of living has risen almost 41 percent since our last raise.

What will it be this year? Is it wrong to have raises just to keep up with the cost of living? Do we expect to get a raise of 41 percent? No, but something along 30 percent over a three-year period (10 percent each of the next three years) along with the standard cost of living would be a step in the right direction.

As employees of the county, we do have a medical plan that when the county pays is a good health-care plan. The county is so slow in paying that doctors and dentists in the area have us pay the full amount of our visits up front.

It takes the county six months or longer before the county pays out on insurance claims. This is a major hardship to have paid this out of pocket expense when our income has stayed at the same level for 13 years.

All we ask is that the Lake County Council remember correctional officers this year. Give us a pay raise that we have earned and deserve.

Ed Mattingly is a Crown Point resident and corrections officer at the Lake County Jail. The opinions are the writer's.

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