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Geneva County faces county employee job woes

Some of these positions have been open for quite some time.
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Geneva County is still facing job woes when it comes to county employees, the Geneva County Sheriff’s Office and Engineering Office are looking to hire. Some of these positions have been open for quite some time.

Sheriff Tony Helms said they have been advertising, but potential applicants are simply telling them they cannot take the job due to the pay being too low. The County Engineering Office does not disagree when it comes to trying to hire their employees.

“I don’t know where the money would come from, but it’s a problem that somebody needs to address on how we can come up with this money to build this up for these officers,” Geneva County Sheriff Tony Helms said.

Sheriff Helms said Geneva County has the lowest pay for correctional officers compared to surrounding areas, by about two dollars less. Geneva County is starting correctional officers out at $9.58 an hour.

“The most important and least thought of and least respected part of the criminal justice system are those correctional officers,” Sheriff Helms said.

Sheriff Helms said reducing the number of officers to raise the pay, is not an option.

“I need more employees,” Sheriff Helms said. “I can’t go with any less.”

The Geneva County Jail currently has three openings.

“Right now, we’ve got great officers, but I can’t be sure in the future I’ll be able to keep them and I cant be sure that I’ll be able to recruit anymore,” Sheriff Helms said.

So the search for correctional officers, continues.

“We want them there to keep the inmates safe and secured and you want the best people that you have trained for that, the citizens of the county want to know that jail is secure and if we don’t have people to man it and run it then it’s not secure, and that’s what the citizens pay for,” Sheriff Helms said.

Sheriff helms, is not alone.

“In the past 11 years we have gone from 43 employees now we are currently down to 26 employees, the positions are still there but as far as physical employees I have 26,” Justin Barfield, County Engineer, said.

The Geneva County Engineering Office has six positions available.

“I think our problem is the same problem that is across the country, I believe you know with COVID and other funding sources coming through people have more incentive to stay at home,” Barfield said.

Geneva County covers 900 miles of roads and right now, with a lack of employees and working interest, Barfield said they are cut by 30 to 40 percent of manpower, forcing there to be more area to cover.

“We can only do so much and it pushes our current employees, it pushes them harder, you know so we have got to find the balance of being the most effective as we can work with and utilize our current staff and do the best we can,” Barfield said.

The requirements for these positions include correctional officers having either a GED or high school diploma and a drivers license. Applicants can pick up an application at the Geneva County Commission Office.

The County Engineering Office is looking for applicants that can operate light construction equipment. To apply call the Road and Bridge office at (334) 684-3450.

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