Bernalillo County, union reach agreement for MDC pay raises

[anvplayer video=”5121668″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Over the past several months there has been a litany of problems inside the Metropolitan Detention Center as it loses correctional officers. Staffing levels are critical and the county now wants to plug that leak.

Last month, the county wanted to hire 13 more officers, and improve procedures for letting inmates out of their cells.

But for some corrections officers, it really comes down to what they’re being paid – which is why the county is now hoping to turn things around with pay raises.

County officials hope the pay increases make an impact on staffing levels at MDC.

An inmate at the West Side facility shared with KOB 4 what he experienced at the jail just last month.

“We’re usually locked down Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Sometimes they’ll come check on us at eight in the morning and then we won’t see another one until around 12 for lunch and then we won’t see another one until about four or five in the afternoon.”

Inmates and MDC staff have complained about staffing shortages for months.

On Tuesday, the county announced a new agreement with the Correctional Officers Union that will hopefully increase recruitment and improve retention.

It includes:

  • 13% pay increase for corrections officers, something they’ll see on their Aug. 5 paychecks 
  • Between 50 cents and a $1 more per hour for certain shifts
  • $10,000 hiring bonuses for experienced corrections officers working at other jails and prisons
  • $5,000 hiring bonus for new hires

“We are committed to addressing staffing and other issues,” said Adriann Barboa, Bernalillo County commissioner. 

The pay increases come three weeks after county commissioners voted to tackle staffing issues at MDC over two years and get the jail close to fully staffed.

The president of the Corrections Officers Union said in a statement:

“Hopefully the things we’ve done… will help us to get some new people in the door and relieve our officers from the overtime and the workloads that they’ve been under.”