Officers working at Kennebec County Correctional Facility in Augusta have a new three-contract that includes a raise in wages. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — Kennebec County officials have approved a three-contract with its jail employees.

The contract, approved by a unanimous vote Tuesday at the Kennebec County commissioners’ meeting, gives a 3% raise this year and 7% in each of the next two years to corrections officers at the Kennebec County Correctional Facility, who are represented by the National Correctional Employees Union.

Scott Ferguson, the Kennebec County administrator, said the majority of the changes to the contract were in its structure and format and to eliminate redundant language.

Under the agreement, employees hired after Aug. 1 this year will contribute 20% for medical insurance, while those hired before that will have single coverage fully paid by the county.

Among other changes, vacation will be accrued per month instead of upfront annually, and Juneteenth (June 19) has been added as a holiday.

The raise in the current year was set at 3% because that’s what was identified in the Kennebec County budget that went into effect on July 1.


“The union membership overwhelmingly passed the contract and it was accepted by both sides,” said William Doyle, executive director of the National Correctional Employees Union. “We thought it was the best deal we can do at this time.”

The 3% raise, Doyle said, brings the starting salary at the Kennebec County jail to $18.99 an hour.

Across Maine, the average wage for corrections officers and jailers in 2022 was $21.33 an hour, according to information presented by the Center for Workforce Research and Information in the state Department of Labor.

Doyle said corrections officers earn about $24 an hour at the Cumberland County jail and about $25 at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

To remain competitive, he said, the wages in Kennebec County needed to be raised.

The correctional facility, along with other jails across the state, has struggled to attract and keep officers on staff.

More than a year ago, jail officials proposed an incentive program that offered sign-on bonuses and retention incentives as well as rewards for perfect attendance. At the time, the jail was operating with essentially half of its budgeted staff and positions continue to remain unfilled.

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