Remember the 2004 Jay-z song 99 problems? Well, as Commissioner Larsen Jay convenes a fourth meeting with a 7th and 8th hour of a Kumbaya session this Thursday that song prepares me for the obvious.
The meeting with Jay between Knox Sheriff HR Director Lysette Aviles, KCSO Chief Bill Purvis, Knox Merit Council Member Gina Oster, Merit System Director Paula Taylor, KCSO Uniformed Officers Lt. Gabe Mullinax, Lt. Krystal Gibson, Commissioners Courtney Durrett, Richie Beeler and failed Commission candidate Scott Broyles.
Let’s first look at personnel turnover numbers since September 1, 2018 when Sheriff Tom Spangler became Knox Sheriff.
Since Spangler has been Sheriff 285 departures from the agency.
In the first 12 days of 2021, 8 (one a retirement, the other seven quit)
Total lost in 2020 …160 (86 of the 160 are correction positions)
In 2020, KCSO hired 119 corrections officer, .53 of them have already left.
There are 323 Corrections budgeted positions. In 2020, KCSO has hired 119 last year. The agency is in a position to hire around 30 in the next two weeks.
Those numbers are disturbing. Is this the only factor killing morale? What else could be killing morale?
My opinion from conversations I have had with members of the uniformed body.
Another is giving a bonus during the June 2020 county budget approval process instead of a pay increase.
Another is spending $80,000 on re-stickering the cruisers and KCSO fleet.
Another is an increased work load on some departments and employees while some departments and employees are NOT as strained.
Another is increasing the numbers of Chiefs and a perception of no interest in the Indians.
So as a fourth meeting and another 2 hours of discussions are had this Thursday, there are 99 problems BUT Merit System/Council ain’t one or two.