Urban County Council tours jail amid chronic staffing shortage

The union says the recent pay hike is helping keep employees from leaving, but isn't attracting new workers to fill positions

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) -Members of Lexington’s Urban County Council toured the Fayette County Detention Center on Thursday afternoon with the jail’s chronic staffing shortage ‘the’ topic of conversation.

Despite a recent pay increase in the new collective bargaining agreement with the city, the union says the pay hike has helped keep employees, but isn’t attracting new workers to fill 115 positions.

Some have floated the idea of reaching out to the state for help by bringing in Kentucky National Guard troops to temporarily fill those vacancies.  Mayor Linda Gorton doesn’t think that option is feasible.  She says most guard members aren’t trained in corrections.

ABC 36 News asked councilmember James Brown about that national guard idea.

“I think all those options are still on the table.  I think we’re just seeing what we can do on the local level to improve the situation and make sure everyone stays safe,” said Brown.

The union says because the jail is so under-staffed, the corrections officers, inmates and ultimately the public is at-risk.


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