Jail superintendent given favorable evaluation

The Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional jail superintendent has received a favorable performance evaluation ten months into the job.

The RSW jail board voted Thursday to give Superintendent Russell Gilkison, who took over the role on March 23, a favorable evaluation and a raise. Gilkison took over the position after the resignation of William Wilson. The jail has had three superintendents since opening in June 2014.

Gilkison was the deputy superintendent.

“It has been a busy ten months since my appointment as superintendent, but an opportunity that I have thoroughly enjoyed. The support from the RSW Authority Board members has been tremendous and greatly appreciated. It is, however, the hardworking and dedicated staff of RSW that has been imperative to the accomplishments that have been made so far,” Gilkison said.

As part of his contract Gilkison will receive a 2.5 percent pay increase, hiking his yearly salary to $95,343.

At the meetingl Jail Authority Chairman and Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley spoke.

“Thank you, Russ, for the outstanding job you have done so far,” Stanley said.

Stanley said he appreciated Gilkison effort in finding outside revenue sources for the jail, such as by renting out bed space.

Bed rentals in August through November brought in $71,000.

“Russ is doing a great job. He is displaying good leadership which is critical in addressing the staff shortage. We went from 42 openings to 24 (in a seven month period). He has also worked to increase workforce inmate hours, which helps us save money,” Stanley said afterwards.

One way in which Gilkison addressed staff shortages was to conduct a salary study and then develop a new salary scale to address low starting salaries. The new scale was approved by the RSW authority board.

“This action resulted in immediate morale improvement and retention. It has also improved RSW’s marketability for staff recruitment,” Gilkison said. “Our officers are now recruiting friends and people they know in the community to apply.”

Increasing the workforce inmate hours by 7 percent has saved county taxpayers $22,500 in labor cost, the superintendent said.

He also started, in partnership with the Warren County Humane Society, the Pawsitive Partners Program. An inmate at the jail trains a shelter dog. The dog becomes more adoptable and the inmate learns responsibility as they train and care for the dog.