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Sat Apr 28, 2018, 09:59 AM

Gov. Edwards' plan to curb prison-worker turnover? A pay hike for prison officers worth $7M

Even as Louisiana struggles with a budget gap that threatens to shutter health services, Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is asking lawmakers to give the state's prison guards a pay raise that would cost $7 million next year.

The Edwards administration says the increase is needed to stem prison-worker turnover rates that are so high they threaten public safety. The majority-Republican House Appropriations Committee spurned the request, refusing to add dollars in this year's budget to start the pay hike in May.

The Democratic governor didn't announce he was seeking the higher hourly salary for the officers. Money for the wage boost was included in an Edwards administration request to allocate $10 million in unspent cash this year to the Department of Corrections.

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, the governor's chief budget adviser, said $1.3 million of that money would be spent to increase corrections officer pay, starting in May. The raises varying from 2 percent to 5 percent would cost $7.1 million in the budget year that begins July 1 when annualized, Dardenne said.

Read more: http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/legislature/article_1b484fec-4a54-11e8-a6d4-737ff3761cc0.html

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