County works out solution for jail kitchen staffing

NORWICH – A solution to overlapping job responsibilities and the need for bulk purchasing at the Chenango County Public Safety Facility kitchen may have been found.

When planning to build the $26 million facility in the late 1990s, county leaders had hoped to save efficiencies by combining the meal preparation for inmates and seniors in one spot. The Chenango County Area Agency on Aging moved to the new kitchen about 18 months ago, however varying meal schedules, differing menus and a lack of proper storage have kept any integration and cost savings at bay.

Five food service workers, food, supplies and other expenses totaling more than $300,000 that have traditionally fallen under the Agency’s budget would be transferred into the Sheriff’s Department budget next year. One of the positions would become managerial.

Health and Human Services Committee members reviewed the new measure during a meeting with Agency Director Deb Sanderson last week. Members of the Personnel Committee last week tackled the problem of the two labor unions involved. A discussion of differing salary levels went into a 15 minute executive session.

Health and Human Services Committee members James B. Bays of Smyrna and Richard Schlag of German questioned whether the higher employee compensation levels that non-law enforcement personnel in the Sheriff’s Dept. receive would eventually eat up any savings.

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