PCS receives grant, raises tabled

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday, Jan. 12, to accept nearly $81,000 in pretrial grant funding for Piedmont Court Services (PCS), but the decision on the amount of raises for PCS staff was tabled until February.

Doug Stanley

A memo by Prince Edward County Administrator Doug Stanley stated PCS has received the pretrial grant funding for the period of Jan. 1-June 30. Donald Williamson, director of PCS, submitted a request to utilize the money to provide salary for a senior pretrial officer and pretrial investigator, a 10% raise for himself and his office manager and to provide for coverage of other costs, including travel, mileage and equipment for the office.

Stanley stated that the request is for the six-month period, but it is expected that the grant will be continued moving forward and rolled into the Comprehensive Community Corrections Act grant.

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“Prince Edward County serves as the fiscal agent for PCS, and they follow the county’s salary and benefits,” Stanley wrote. “As this request is outside the normal budget cycle, we are bringing this request to the board for consideration.”

Williamson spoke briefly to the board Tuesday, explaining how the pretrial grant funding will impact PCS.

“For many years we have provided probation services, and this adds a new component to our program,” he said. “So what it does is it provides pretrial recommendations to the court on whether they should detain or release defendants incarcerated in jail, and it also provides pretrial supervision for defendants prior to their sentencing.

“So right now, I’m working on the implementation plan for that, and we’re going to be hiring two additional staff to provide the pretrial services,” he continued. “So with this new component comes additional responsibilities for myself as well as our office manager, who I’ll note has been with us since April of 2002. I worked with Piedmont Court Services many years ago from 2002 to 2004, so about two years before returning as the director.”

The PCS staff consists of seven full-time employees plus a part-timer, according to Williamson.

Stanley asked Williamson if it is fair to say that he requested a raise for the executive director and the office manager due to those being the two positions most impacted by the additional workload of adding the new positions in the office. Williamson said this was correct.

“There was room in the budget for the increase in salaries,” Williamson said. “So what I’m requesting is a 10% increase of salary for myself and my office manager, and I will say that my responsibilities (are) really the direction and management of the new program and starting the implementation of the pretrial services.

“And for the office manager, she does a lot of things with recordkeeping of the grant and (is) involved a lot in the day-to-day operations of the staff, so we’re going to be increasing staff by two with our agency,” he added.

Leigh District Supervisor Jerry Townsend indicated if new pretrial duties are delegated to the rest of the staff, it would be a bit unfair to not give them all raises as well.

Jerry Townsend

“That could have a tremendous impact on your staff’s morale,” Townsend said. “Again, it’s no cost to us, but as a director, that’s something you may want to think about.”

Williamson was advised by a couple members of the board to explore alternatives that would spread the salary increases to more members of the staff.

“We can accept the grant, appropriate the money to the budget, that way he can move forward with hiring his new folks,” Stanley said, “and then we can make those salary adjustments once the board approves that in February.”

The board voted 8-0 to move forward with these actions.