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Delaware Correctional Officers to Get Raises

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DOVER, Del. --- Delaware's correctional officer union has agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement that will see starting salaries gradually boosted in the coming years to $45,000.

Members of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware, the union for rank-and-file COs, ratified the new contract on Tuesday night, according to Bert Scogletti, a spokesman for the state's Office of Management and Budget.

The new deal will hike starting salaries by $500 every 12 months, starting in the first full pay period after July 1 of 2019. 

The annual raises will conclude in July 2022, when salaries will have risen to $45,000.

Officers already employed by the department will also get raises, according to COAD President Geoff Klopp, who said the new agreement also contains new paths for promotion.

COAD leadership has bemoaned the existing correctional officer starting salary rate of $43,000, saying it is too low to attract and retain quality correctional officers who eventually seek employment elsewhere.

The union has maintained the issue is a critical factor in the large number of staffing shortages throughout the state's prison system, which has at times prompted the Delaware Department of Correction to force correctional officers to work overtime to ensure shifts are adequately covered.

Staffing shortages and forced overtime were among the major topics covered in a report on the deadly 2017 hostage situation at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna.

Steven Floyd, a correctional officer stationed at a building seized by inmates, died during the incident.

Following the inmate riot, Delaware approved hiking starting salaries by $7,000 over two years, bringing them to the current rate of $43,000.

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