SAN ANTONIO -- Bexar County jailers are now getting paid for working overtime.
On Tuesday, Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau asked the Commissioners Court for more than $500,000 for overtime pay worked by detention officers from Jan. 15 though Feb. 26.
The Commissioners Court approved the funds.
Bexar County detention officers have been working mandatory overtime since Jan. 15 with no overtime pay. Instead, they were awarded compensation time since the department had run out of money three months into the fiscal year.
Pamerleau, who is just finishing her first month on the job, also proposed a plan. She said she will hire 30 part-time detention officers, put some supervisor positions on regular shifts and modernize the departments.
“The attendance and payroll systems for the sheriff’s office are antiquated. They are paper based and manual,” Pamerleau said.
She said she wants to start exit interviews for outgoing officers to minimize the turnover rate.
The department is also looking to hire a professional jail administrator. Pamerleau also eliminated a review of her staff by an outside firm that cost the department $250,000. Pamerleau said she the county doesn't need a company telling them what they already know about doing their job.
While the commissioners received the new sheriff very well, Commissioner Kevin Wolff issued a warning.
“We’ve been down this road before. Sometimes it started off very well and it deteriorates very quickly," he said. "So while I think we’re off to a really good start, let’s make sure we keep going that way and don’t fall into the old tricks of the past.”
Detention officers said they are happy about the approval for more funds, and that most officers would rather have overtime pay than the compensation time.
“It’s a relief," Patrick Kuhlmeier said. "When we wait to get the phone call now we know we’re going to get paid for it."