A likely merger between the Douglas County Community Corrections and the county's district court services office means some employees will be earning less money.
County Administrator Craig Weinaug said the pay scale for court services employees is generally lower than community correction workers, who are paid by the state. Because there is a wage discrepancy between the two departments, he said, most of the wages of the eight community correction employees will be frozen.
"It's the only way to fall within the guidelines of the money allowed," he said.
In June, county commissioners chose not to fund a $55,000 budget shortfall from the state's Department of Corrections. The state allocated only $280,320 to the budget for fiscal year 2001. They also asked Pat Berry, the community corrections director, who resigned in September, to eliminate a position after Jan. 1, 2001.
That's when the merger, which the commissioners will consider approving Monday, came up, Weinaug said.
On the positive side, he said community corrections will be able to assist with the ever-increasing caseload of the court services. Right now, he said the community corrections is handling fewer cases.
"At the local level, we will manage our resources to maximize that caseload," he said.
The court services department supervises offenders on probation and also evaluates convicts during their pre-sentencing phase.
Community corrections is a program that allows certain nonviolent offenders to serve their time while remaining in society. They can contribute to the community while saving taxpayer money, but it requires intense supervision.
If the merger is approved, the community corrections department will move to the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, where court services is located. District Administrative Judge Michael Malone will oversee both departments, Weinaug said.
Also on the agenda:
Consider approving a site plan for a tool barn on Highway 76 near Blue Springs. The property is owned by Rodney and Jeanette Spencer.
Discuss radio equipment needs for handy talkies in the county jail.
Consider approving a 2.5 percent cost-of-living wage adjustment for employees for 2001.
Consider approving a 2001 holiday schedule for employees.
The commission will meet at 9 a.m. Monday at the county courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts streets.