Mercer County considers putting jail under private management - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Mercer County considers putting jail under private management

Posted: Updated:
MERCER, Pa. - Talks are underway to keep the cost of criminals locked up in Mercer County under control and that may mean putting the prison under private management.

Operating the Mercer County prison costs taxpayers almost $8 million a year. 

It's an expense prison board members are trying to trim.

"Commissioners have not raised taxes, this year's really a tough year, we're just looking at that part and mostly it's cost," Thomas Amundsen says, prison board president.

A move to private prison management instead of a county-run system is under consideration. 

The private company that operates the Columbiana County Jail has toured the Mercer facility. Still, the board is still in the process of researching the option.

A private firm would likely pay prison guards about $10 to $12 dollars an hour, which is about half as much as the current union employees earn now. 

"I think my charge to myself is to find a pathway that can satisfy both the taxpayers and the workers," John Lechner says, Mercer County commissioner.

Though board members are adamant about keeping current employees on the payroll , the union says that's not enough-- even if they agree to a higher pay rate.

"I don't think that a company could come in and bring people in that know as much and have relationships with the judges, with the public, that we do," Ross Livermore says, union steward with Teamsters Local 250.

Contract talks between the union and the county have been ongoing since 2012, when the union's last contract expired. Livermore says the two sides last met in June. If privatization talks continue, Livermore fears that could bring an end to the union all together. 

While Lechner says the county is working on another contract proposal to bring to the union, Livermore says he calling for arbitration in an effort to iron out a deal.
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Lightning kills boy swimming in Pennsylvania creek

    Lightning kills boy swimming in Pennsylvania creek

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:09:34 GMT
    Authorities say a lightning strike has killed a boy who was swimming in a central Pennsylvania creek.More >>
    Authorities say a lightning strike has killed a boy who was swimming in a central Pennsylvania creek.More >>
  • Ohio police: Wedding guest tries to steal gifts

    Ohio police: Wedding guest tries to steal gifts

    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Police in Dayton say a wedding guest tried to make off with checks and cash for the newlyweds. Officers were called to the wedding reception late Saturday night after workers noticed that a safe had been emptied out. Police say about $6,800 was found in unopened wedding cards inside a tuxedo garment bag belonging to one of the guests. A police report says surveillance video showed a man entering the office and later walking out with the garment bag. The man told police he...More >>
    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Police in Dayton say a wedding guest tried to make off with checks and cash for the newlyweds. Officers were called to the wedding reception late Saturday night after workers noticed that a safe had been emptied out. Police say about $6,800 was found in unopened wedding cards inside a tuxedo garment bag belonging to one of the guests. A police report says surveillance video showed a man entering the office and later walking out with the garment bag. The man told police he...More >>
  • Flying club remembers 4 killed in Ohio plane crash

    Flying club remembers 4 killed in Ohio plane crash

    CLEVELAND (AP) - Members of a flying club held a candlelight vigil to remember four Ohio college students killed a week ago when a small plane crashed just after taking off near Cleveland. Friends and family members were among the 80 people who gathered Sunday night near the crash site in Willoughby Hills. Federal officials say the pilot of the plane reported he was having trouble climbing just after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. All four people aboard the plane were stude...More >>
    CLEVELAND (AP) - Members of a flying club held a candlelight vigil to remember four Ohio college students killed a week ago when a small plane crashed just after taking off near Cleveland. Friends and family members were among the 80 people who gathered Sunday night near the crash site in Willoughby Hills. Federal officials say the pilot of the plane reported he was having trouble climbing just after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. All four people aboard the plane were stude...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms