The Board of Butler County Commissioners held a work session on the current issues surrounding employee recruitment and retention at the Butler County Adult Detention Facility. According to County Administrator, Will Johnson, Butler County has historically struggled to recruit and retain employees since it opened in January of 2003.

According to the Butler County website the facility employees, approximately 60 full-time detention deputies and “assignments include security, operations, prisoner transportation, and supervision. The facility houses inmates from not only Butler County, but also the U.S. Marshal Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, and various other outside law enforcement agencies.”

However, there have been vacancies with as low as 4 to 5 and as high as 17 to 18 in the recent past. There are currently 15 vacancies at the facility, and a contributing factor is that the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) recently increasing starting pay to $18.26/hr which is $2.30 higher than Butler County. KDOC operates a facility in El Dorado.

“In the past, when pay was [commiserate], Butler County out competed KDOC for employees,” said Johnson.

Johnson met with all the employees at the facility to discuss why they continue to work for Butler County and what problems they see or ideas they have to help address the issue. He said he received “great feedback” and highlighted some of the issues identified. They include the need to adjust pay to remain competitive with the KDOC as well as providing a shift differential to overnight staff.

The Board discussed the ideas and while no action was taken, it was determined to have staff return with recommendations and a timeline to adopt changes that would help resolve the issue.