|Program:||Security and Institutional Operations|
|Title:||Pay Additive for Maintenance Staff|
The physical infrastructure of a prison must be appropriately maintained to successfully house and maintain the inmate population. The department maintains over 120 correctional facilities, including major prisons, work and forestry camps, road prisons and work release facilities comprising over 18 million square feet of state owned buildings. The state of this infrastructure has been compromised by age (many facilities are over 30 years old) and prolonged use and abuse common in the correctional setting. Additionally, each facility is supported by numerous physical plant systems which require ongoing maintenance such as electrical distribution systems with emergency power generation, water/wastewater distribution and treatment systems, security systems (perimeter fencing, surveillance and communications), mechanical systems (HVAC equipment with related electrical/electronic controls), road and paving systems, and life safety systems (fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems). Failure of any system can lead to temporary evacuation of the facility, environmental impact, and expensive emergency repair.
The responsibility of maintaining these buildings and systems is understandably huge and it is imperative that maintenance services are provided efficiently, effectively and timely. Accordingly, the department is the process of reorganizing the delivery of maintenance services within each prison to ensure this occurs. This will not require additional positions. However, there are currently 65 vacancies (14% of maintenance positions) due to current salary levels for maintenance positions which make recruitment and retention of qualified individuals difficult. With the absence of an adequate number of maintenance staff at each prison, the staffing deficiencies are covered through the use of correctional officers. The largest numbers of vacancies exist among electronic technicians who make close to $6,000 more in the private sector compared to the salary and benefits of a state maintenance worker. Addressing salary levels for these positions will help alleviate this issue.