RSW sees more hires since pay increase

FRONT ROYAL — Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail made more hires since increasing the starting pay for corrections officers, the superintendent said in a board meeting Thursday.

When the jail approved the salary increase in May, there were 29 open corrections officer positions, 37 when including the eight positions the jail leaves open for the vacancy savings. Since the pay increase took effect on July 1, there have been nine new hires, dropping the open corrections officer positions to 20.

The starting annual salary for a jail officer at RSW has increased from $33,118 to $37,288, and other sworn officer salaries have seen an increase as well.

Superintendent Russ Gilkison said at Thursday’s meeting that the pay increase has “absolutely” helped with both retaining and hiring more officers to the jail, which was seeing a high turnover rate of its officers as recently as April. Since then, the jail has even rehired some of the officers who left and reapplied.

“Because that starting salary is higher, it is drawing more people in–I’m seeing more applications,” Gilkison said at the meeting, adding that the officers he’s met with are appreciative of the pay increase. He said the increase has helped boost morale among staff.

Gilkison also said that he is looking to hire 10-12 more corrections officers to reduce some of the overtime costs. As of Sept. 30, three months into the fiscal year, the jail has used about 64 percent of the funds set in the budget to pay overtime.