Mar 23, 2017

We get paid just a little bit over minimum wage, to get in fights, spit on, have feces throw on us and deal with the effects passing of AB109, prop 47 and prop 57."


Correctional officer Lesa Christensen sent an email to Undersheriff Billy Honsal who is expected to take over when Sheriff Michael Downey retires this May.

She told him that she was very happy he will be Sheriff, that this is not personally directed at him and that the COs just want an improvement in working conditions and that she wanted to give him a heads up that this would be going public.

Ms. Christensen told me, "The sheriff has had us on Mandatory overtime for over 2 years. We are working 50-60 hours each pay period."




"We get paid just a little bit over minimum wage, to get in fights, spit on, have feces throw on us and deal with the effects passing of AB109, prop 47 and prop 57."


'The Sheriff keeps taking officers from the jail to put on the street. We can't get ahead. 80% of our staff is under 2 years. Many of the staff has some serious medical problems: high blood pressure, migraines, cancer, diabetes, sleep deprivation and back problems. It takes two years to properly train a CO."

"We lose an officer a month for the last 12 years. That's 50 grand out the door every month."

Another correctional officer, Todd Arnold, clarified "50-60 hours a week; sometimes, more often than that."

I have contacted AFSCME57, the Sheriff, the Undersheriff, County Human Resources and Board of Supervisors for comment. 


Specifically asked the Union if any effort had been made prior to inform the above parties, why are they going public now and what informal efforts have been made to resolve these issues.



14 comments:

  1. I'm assuming 120 hrs a month (2 pay periods)

    ($55,070.00 + 13,696.00 overtime /12 months / 120 hrs. Data sourced from http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/humboldt-county/?page=37&s=title)

    If she has 4 pay periods per month, she's making 20 dollars an hour. If 2, nearly $47 dollars an hour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's a supervisor, so her hourly wage is higher than a correctional officers.

      Delete
    2. Starting wage is $16.61/hr which is $2879.78/month. Of course, that is BEFORE they take out taxes (duh), but other things like medical insurance, union fees, legal defense fund, and a host of other things.

      Delete
    3. A standard work month is 176 hours (8 hours per day, 22 days per month average). And overtime makes a different number...so $55,070.00 /12 months/176 hrs. - Around $26.07/hr base pay

      Delete
  2. Just to say: as the local AFSCME rep, you have not attempted to contact me at all that I am aware of. We are actively seeking to work with all parties to address the concerns of our members as they reach out to this office and their Stewards. Thus far, the interactions on all sides have been positive while advancing many of the interests of our members. That said, mandatory overtime for multiple years will obviously take a toll on anyone, and we will continue to discuss options to assist this situation on an ongoing basis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a local rep, you should use your name, not unknown. I was given Drew Redden as the contact. , I emailed him this morning and forwarded the email again to him right now.

      Delete
  3. Yes COs are working 50-60 hours a week and on top of it they've had at least one extra training per month from medical issues, prea, gang training, range defensive tactics and cpr and not to mention they still have there mandatory over time day. Last year two people were sent to core course and within 2 months one left and moved and one left for a different department so that was a waste of money sending them away for 6 weeks

    ReplyDelete
  4. John, is this the same Lesa Christensen? http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/search/?a=humboldt-county&q=Lesa+Christensen

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think it's funny everyone quotes transparent California but fails to look into what money is included in the amount that isn't seen on take home checks. Someone should do an article on that. We are the third lowest paid county in california. Officers are doing a public We are in large dorms dealing with convicts, mentally ill, manipulators, etc 12 hours a day. We are forced to work more than what's reasonable and miss time with our families on a constant basis which is a lot of the reason we go through so many people, not to mention the work conditions we are exposed to. It's unlike any other job I've ever done. I like my job, but I love my family. My wife does it all at home because I'm never there. That's on top of her full time 8 hour a day work schedule, which means she has to take the kids to school and pick them up, something I can't do even if I wanted to. Try to take a vacation or time off but get told you can't because of insufficient staffing. On the surface you think 20 bucks an hour for a regular co that's been there 5 years is good and then compare that to other counties in the state and realize that is far under paid for what is expected. Anyone else besides maybe nurses who have had feces or urine thrown at you? Been accused of violating someone's civil rights even though you haven't just because someone wasn't happy you held them accountable for their actions? Have you ever had someone accuse you of bringing drugs into the facility and had a judge sign a search warrant to search you, your truck, and wake up your family at 6 in the morning on a Sunday to look for these drugs just to find out they were lied to and the whole thing was made up so they could try and get a pass? These are just some of the things I have gone through at my job and for 20 bucks an hour doesn't seem worth it. Responded to someone who jumped off a tier 30 feet up and landed on concrete lately? Responded to a hanging victim and had to perform cpr on them as a first responder? Done 15 or more strip searches in a row looking to see if anyone tried to smuggle drugs/lighters/needles in their anus lately? Now, I guess I could leave and find something else if I really wanted to, but why? Shouldn't we be trying to make our working conditions better, or at least asking for what other counties in the state already receive? Is it better to just give up or try and make things better? AB109 has completely changed the county jails across the state, people can't deny that. Prop 47 has as well. The jail population has skyrocketed and the problems with it. Try sticking all these people in open dorms with prison politics/gang issues/race issues (99% prison politics caused)... and one officer to supervise 65 or more inmates, locked in the room with them with no way out, and give him/her a can of mace and a taser.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would ask the members of the community, who would go into a job like this on purpose unless you really wanted to serve the community and were the kind of person who at their core wants to make a difference. We lose so many people and don't have enough people applying to work in these conditions, that the department has resorted to hiring from the fresno area. This means giving incentives for new hires to relocate which has included starting them at a higher pay rate, around 17 bucks an hour, only to have them realize what they are expected to do isn't worth the money and compounding that issue is the fact they left family and friends to come here to a place where it never stops raining and when they want to visit family they can't because it's impossible to get time off to do so. We have a huge problem with retention and losing officers is costing a fortune for the county, not to mention the loss of experience, which you can't put a price on. People think it's just cut and dry... look at transparent California and think... this is what they are taking home, and just to turn a key. Please don't insult what we are doing inside that jail. The truth is, we have 400+ inmates who we look after. The same people you read about in the papers, those high profile cases, and those individuals who go around town committing daily offenses (those people the local PD know by name). I just want to make people aware that it takes a really specia kind of person to work this job. It's not for everyone. Those willing to do it, all of it, deal with the people/problems/emergencies/and be locked in a dorm with 65+ criminals (some alleged, some convicted and waiting for transport, some lifetime criminals who have been back and forth to prison for decades. These are the people we watch on a daily basis and have to deal with so the community doesn't have to. What's that job worth? That's what we are asking. We feel like we have been neglected for a long time. That should change.

    ReplyDelete
  7. http://transparentcalifornia.com/pages/faq/

    People should know what is included in the amounts when they see the numbers.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sheriff duputies, Animal Control, Correctional Officers in the Sheriff's Office do not get paid nearly enough for what they do. Hopefully the Union will solve this soon!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh she didn't mention the ptsd. That is because the sheriff's department doesn't recognise it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh so by "working conditions" they mean "more money." Good to know.

    ReplyDelete