Logan County’s jail continues to suffer overcrowding and this, along with COVID-19 conditions, is why jailer Phil Gregory is pushing for a portion of the county’s $5.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act Relief Funds be given as a bonus to his employees as well as all county employees.

Gregory spoke about the bonuses he’d like to see given to county employees who have worked through the pandemic at the Tuesday, Oct, 12th meeting of the fiscal court. This is the second time the jailer has mentioned what is called “premium pay” under the ARPA funds earmark. He had come to the court in July to promote the spending. According to criteria for ARPA funds, they can be spent on broadband, water and sewer projects, loss of revenue, and premium pay to name a few.

“There is a sense of urgency at the jail. This is a hostile work environment,” said Gregory explaining to the court the jail is not only overcrowded but the employees face the virus every day coming into work, and they continue to come into work.”

Magistrate Tyler Davenport told Gregory the county was going to be taking its time on spending the funds to make sure it gets done right. “It’s a lot of money and we want to get it right,” said Davenport. The county has until 2026 to spend the ARPA funding. “We are not rushing into anything right now.”

Gregory told the court it had been nine weeks since the county hired a firm for $80,000 to facilitate the ARPA spending, and they should have figured it out by now.

“In that act, there is a provision to give eligible county employees a bonus. I’m talking about the ones who worked through the pandemic and came to work every day,” said Gregory who has already spoken with an attorney from the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) about the idea. Gregory further said he wasn’t specifically talking about jail employees, but all county departments whose employees came to work during this difficult time. “Here you’ve got the federal government paying people more not to come to work than the people that are working. That’s why they need a bonus for coming to work,” said the jailer.

“We will be coming up with a spending plan with the ARPA money, just not immediately. We think it’s imperative we take our time and make sure we do it according to the rules,” said Davenport. “

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