Kansas lawmaker to seek higher pay for corrections officers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A Kansas lawmaker who heads a budget subcommittee says he’ll push next year for a pay increase of as much as 20 percent for corrections officers at state prisons.

Republican Rep. J.R. Claeys of Salina announced his proposal following an uprising last month at the state’s maximum-security prison in El Dorado. His plan could cost as much as $20 million a year.

Claeys is chairman of a House budget subcommittee on public safety.

State employee union leader Robert Choromanski said Wednesday that the proposal is a good start but working conditions remain a problem.

Claeys said the prison system’s biggest issue is recruiting and retaining uniformed officers because the pay starts at $13.95 an hour. The state says 12 percent of those positions were vacant this week.

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