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Commissioners approve capacity agreement for prison
Also OK raise for county administrator
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Effingham County commissioners have approved an annual agreement for the number of prisoners housed at the Effingham County Prison.

Under the terms of the pact with the state Department of Corrections, the county prison will house up to 192 inmates, and the county will receive $20 a day for each inmate. The agreement runs from July 1 to June 30, 2017.

The county prison supplies work crews, and commissioners tabled action on agreements for inmate works crews with Bryan County and Rincon.
Commissioners questioned the level of compensation the county gets from the state for inmates.

“It costs us $35 (a day),” Commissioner Reggie Loper said. “We can’t charge them for prisoners that go out of the county?”

County finance director Joanna Wright explained the county can charge for the corrections officer overseeing the work detail but can’t charge for the crew’s labor.

In its agreement with Rincon, the county provides a guard, and the city provides the vehicle and tools for the workers, plus covers the vehicle’s fuel expenses.

Commissioners also approved a new employment agreement with county administrator Toss Allen. Under the terms of the new contract, Allen will make $133,000 a year.

Allen’s pay now brings his compensation into line with what administrators in counties with a similar population are paid. Salaries for county managers and administrators in B level counties range from just under $104,000 to $152,000.

“We looked at different counties our size and looked at what they were paying their administrators,” said Commissioner Vera Jones.

The new contract also means Allen is no longer eligible for cost of living adjustments, merit raises or longevity raises.

Allen and the commissioners entered into a contract last September that paid him $97,597.50 a year. The county also provides him a vehicle allowance of $450 a month to offset the cost of using his own vehicle while traveling on county business in Effingham. The contract also stipulated he will be paid the federal mileage rate for any use of his vehicle on county business outside of Effingham.

The contract also calls for Allen to live within the county during his employment as administrator and commissioners may evaluate Allen’s performance on an annual basis. The review will be presented to Allen, who will have a chance to address any comments, in executive session.

Should commissioners dismiss Allen, he is eligible to get six months’ salary and six months of health insurance coverage as severance.

Allen was named temporary county administrator in May 2013 and was offered the permanent position in October 2014. He earned a bachelor of arts in civil engineering technology from Georgia Southern University and has been employed by the county since June 2010.