Sheriff’s office creates jail administrator position, eliminates adm. sgt. 

March 14, 2018

Sheriff Kim Cole

Sheriff’s office creates jail administrator position, eliminates adm. sgt. 

#MasonCountyNews

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON —The Mason County Sheriff’s Office has eliminated the administrative sergeant position and replaced the job with a jail administrator position. A request by Sheriff Kim Cole was approved Tuesday by the Mason County Board of Commissioners. The sergeant position was a union job while the administrative position is non-union.

Sheriff Cole said the position had existed as a non-union job for many years. During the administration of Sheriff Jeff Fiers, from 2007 to 2011, the position was changed to a union job.

“It is my understanding this was done so as to allow this person to perform union duties while serving in an administrative setting, while, presumably, saving overtime,” Cole wrote to County Administrator Fabian Knizacky in a memorandum.

Cole said there are several reasons the position was non-union including: Full control of corrections schedule, authority to discipline, full control of internal inspections, and authority to order staff to accomplish certain tasks that come up.

“We are currently limited in all of the above functions,” he wrote. “We have tried our best to work around these issues however, in addition to those mentioned benefits to command staff, there is a clear downside:

Per union contract the administrative sergeant is placed on the call in overtime schedule.

  • With the Monday through Friday schedule, the only time he is available for overtime is on the weekends.
  • The position has no authority to order other union sergeants to complete tasks.
  • The position has no authority to conduct internal investigations.
  • The position has no authority to write up or discipline.

“There is a far greater benefit to the union side for the jail operations than command,” Cole said. “I have to have a person in this position who can not only accomplish goals and objectives I believe are crucial, but to also deal with the fallout if those goals and objectives are not met.”

Cole said in 2017 the administrative sergeant’s pay, with overtime, was $51,000. He is requesting the jail administrative position be compensated the same as the chief deputy of the road patrol position, starting at $58,710.45.

Cole added that the former administrative sergeant generated or saved the county $91,368.

The position of administrative sergeant was most recently held by Eric Soneral. However, Soneral has requested to remain in a union position, Cole told MCP, adding that there are currently three people in the department interested in the position.

“I am not seeking to add any positions within the sheriff’s office,” Cole stated.

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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