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911 remodel gets final approval

In a special called session of the McCreary County Fiscal Court Friday afternoon, the Court tackled two issues important to McCreary County emergency services.

The first topic discussed was the passing of a resolution to allow Judge Executive Doug Stephens to enter into an agreement to borrow money from KACo to complete the planned remodel of the work space below the Ambulance Service building and installation of new equipment for 911.

With all new equipment purchased through grant funding, the new McCreary 911 Center will be modernized and moved from the dilapidated building into the new facility once construction is complete.

McCreary County EMS/911 Director Jimmy Barnett said everything is ready to go to start the project.

The Court voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

The second issue considered was the request of Jailer Jessie Hatfield to hire two additional Transport Officers to assist with the transport of prisoners.

Magistrate Leroy “O.L.” Perry opened the discussion by asking if either of the two applicants were already employed by the County.

Judge Stephens informed the Court that they were not, noting County employees cannot be paid for performing two County jobs.

Magistrate Duston Baird asked what was the difference in pay between a Transport Officer and a Deputy Sheriff.

Transport officers are paid $50 per transport, based on a scale of $12.50 per hour, with each transport calculated at four hours. The County pays the salary of three Deputy Sheriffs, at a rate of $10.17 per hour. The main difference is Deputies work a full schedule and gain additional benefits such as insurance and retirement. Transport officers are not allowed to exceed over 24 hours of work in a week, and do not receive fringe benefits.
Judge Stephens stated there are currently only two available transport officers during the daytime hours, including Jailer Hatfield, and two for the night-time shift. To avoid “burn out” and to alleviate the possibility of any of the part time officers from exceeding their maximum hours, additional staffing would be needed, Stephens explained.

He also noted the additional hires should not cost the County any additional funding, as the employees are only paid for transports they work.
Stephens informed the Court that he anticipated the need to hire at least one more transport officer in the near future, a female to assist with the transport of female prisoners.

County Attorney Conley Chaney also noted that with the Jailer and his officers conducting a larger number of transports since the first of the year, fatigue may become an issue, raising liability and safety concerns.

The next regular meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be on Thursday, February 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the Fiscal Court Room.

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