MAHASKA COUNTY — The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors and Mahaska County Sheriff Russell Van Renterghem hope increasing pay for new jailer hires will decrease the high turnover.
The supervisors approved a pay increase so new hires will start at $34,500 with a six-month probationary period after which pay will go up to $35,000 and will increase $1,000 per year after.
Van Renterghem said a study had been done of the surrounding jails and other jails in Iowa that are of comparable size.
“We were considerably behind. I think $34,500 gets us back up there closer to them,” he said. “It’s anywhere from $35,000 up to $40,000 starting rate for the surrounding jails. So I think this is a good step.”
Van Renterghem said he had had some concerns with the jail budget for next year, but even with the pay increases, he’s still under budget from last year.
Additionally, Van Renterghem said, if the pay rate for new jailers is increased, adjustments will have to be made to the pay of some of the younger jailers as well, to bring them up on the scale.
“We can’t bring somebody in at $34,500 and have them making more than a two or three-year veteran jailer who is at $32–34,000 like we talked about. so there will be some fine adjustments with some of the younger jailers,” he said. “I think it’s a good step.”
Van Renterghem said the county lost jailers in 2019 to Marion County and to other jobs.
“Don’t begrudge them that. I mean, they have a family to feed also. We lost a jailer to Pella Corp for pay,” he said. “We have to keep them here and we lost some good jailers last year. some that really worked out good for us; they’ve just got to feed their families.”
• During the organizational portion of the meeting, the supervisors decided to continue to meet at 9 a.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month. An exception to that schedule is when that Monday is a holiday, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is Monday, Jan. 20. The next meeting of the supervisors will therefore be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21.
• Mark Groenendyk and Steve Wanders will continue to be chair and vice-chair, respectively. Each member of the board has authority to sign documents in the absence of the chair.
• The Oskaloosa Herald and the New Sharon Sun were both approved as newspapers of record.
• Mahaska County Auditor Susan Brown and the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors were named custodians of the courthouse.
• The eleven holidays the Mahaska County Courthouse will be closed include New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
• Brown was reappointed as trustee to the Heartland Insurance Risk Pool, with Groenendyk as an alternate.
• Troy Bemis was reappointed as County Safety Coordinator and County Americans with Disabilities coordinator.
• Ben Hoskins was reappointed as weeds commissioner.
• Heather Gross was reappointed to the behavioral health services board as a nonvoting member.
• Andrew Ritland was appointed HIPAA privacy officer and Darren Hite was appointed security officer.
• The equal opportunity policy was approved for 2020.
• County depositories were named as MidWest One Bank, Tru Bank, Bank Iowa, U.S. Bank and Leighton State Bank.
• The supervisors approved a resolution authorizing the destruction of files more than 10 years old that are not required to be kept as permanent records.
• Mahaska County, as part of the Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, has agreed to contribute 49 cents per capita, for a total of $5,460.72 to cover financial operating costs of the commission from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
Groenendyk said the county covers unincorporated areas and small cities, while Oskaloosa has its own agreement.
Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.