Jefferson County Judge Booker Clemons said late Thursday that deputies at the adult detention center will be getting paychecks Friday.
During a meeting of the Quorum Court Monday, Sheriff’s Office Operations Commander and Sheriff-elect Lafayette Woods Jr. said there was not enough money remaining in the salary line of the 2018 budget to cover the December 15 payday or the payday at the end of the year.
At the meeting Monday, Woods said that the Arkansas Department of Correction owed the county $200,000 for housing prisoners but the check had not been received. That money has since come in.
“We got it all worked out,” Clemons said. “We’re in good shape for the rest of the year If we hadn’t gotten that money, we were going to work something else out. We can’t have people working and not getting paid.”
Justice of the Peace Dr. Herman Ginger, chairman of the Finance Committee, said during Monday’s meeting that the situation was a “classic example of appropriations versus cash in the bank. The clerk can’t write the check because we don’t have cash in the bank (to cover the checks).”
Ginger said the problem is that when the 2018 budget was adopted, the Sheriff’s Office was projected to bring in a certain amount of revenue, and that projection formed the basis for their budget. This year, the revenue was down compared to projections.
“We’re already working short,” said Maj. Tyra Tyler, the jail administrator. “We’ve got a staff of five or six and 300 detainees. We’ve got slots we haven’t filled. We need to try and keep the employees we have instead of them going to Pulaski County or the Department of Corrections.”
Woods said part of the problem with the projections is that while the jail makes most of its revenue from housing prisoners, with the department unable to fill vacancies, some of the deputies who were assigned to serve arrest warrants have had to do other things, thereby reducing the number of prisoners brought in.
Also, the jail gets revenue from detainees who work on the Clean Team, but if the jail does not have enough jailers on duty, those deputies whose job it is to supervise the Clean Teams can’t take them out.