PLATTSBURGH -- An independent fact-finder has sided with correction officers at the Clinton County Jail in their efforts to get more money.

Correction officers at the jail are seeking more money on the basis of having to work in a much larger jail.

An expansion making the County Jail more than twice its size was recently completed.

With more cells available, the jail is taking more federal prisoners and more inmates from other counties.

The county is paid to house prisoners from out of the county.

Officers argued that the increase in prisoners has affected their work duties.

According to a news release from the County State Employees Association, the report from the fact-finder states, in part, "I do find that CSEA has made a compelling case for an impact adjustment based upon workload.

"The jail has seen a spike in prisoners stemming from agreements between the county and U.S. Marshals Services and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The special circumstances created by this population have changed working conditions for correction officers."

The report also said, "The very fact that more serious offenders are included in that group, as opposed to the typical local prisoner, makes the job different, busier and perhaps more dangerous."

On behalf of the 79 correction officers, the union has been trying to get the county to address the jail-expansion effect since last year.

The case went through several steps before the union requested a fact-finder.

The fact-finder called for each full-time correction officer to be given a $1,000 stipend to be paid in weekly installments for the rest of this year.

"It's nice to finally be heard after two years of being told by the county that there is no impact," said Terry Guynup, CSEA Clinton County Corrections Officers unit president.

The fact-finder's report is not binding.

County Administrator Michael Zurlo said legislators are reviewing the fact-finder's report.

"We will thoroughly analyze all of our options before making any decision," he said.

Sheriff David Favro deferred the matter to the legislature.

"It's going to be up to them to make the proper assessment of what to do."

E-mail Joe LoTemplio at:

jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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