OLATHE, Kan. — In an effort to retain employees, Johnson County will offer up to $3,000 in bonuses to staff in the corrections department and in the sheriff’s office.

Thursday morning, the Johnson County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved plans to provide a one-time retention bonus for county departments with a vacancy rate of 20% or more. 

As of June 2022, the sheriff’s office had 48 open deputy positions, accounting for a 12.5% vacancy rate for deputies. Thirty-eight of those positions were assigned to the jail, accounting for a 15% vacancy rate for jail deputies.

At full staff, the department still relies on overtime to fill jail posts. According to county documents, roughly 26% of the deputy positions within detention centers are staffed by deputies working overtime. 

Tom Dugan, director of finance for the sheriff’s office, said the $3,000 bonus is roughly equivalent to 4.8-5% of the average deputy’s salary. 

“We already have some other police departments that are implementing similar type initiatives to try to maintain their own people,” Dugan said. “We are treading water. We are doing what we can. This, to be honest, is what we could afford to do at the time.” 

Last month the Johnson County Department of Corrections reported a total of 51 open positions in the Juvenile Detention Center and Adult Residential Center. The vacancy rate has led to mandatory overtime and forced the department to modify its service to maintain staffing.

Deputy County Manager Maury Thompson while the sheriff’s department has a fully funded budget for 2022, the department does not have enough money to fund retention bonuses. 

Approximately $2.3 million will be allocated annually from the Countywide Support Fund (CSF) to provide retention incentives in 2022 and 2023. Thompson said roughly $1.7 million would support bonuses for the sheriff’s department and the remaining $700,000 would support bonuses for employees in county corrections.