Roni Phillips takes helm as new jail administrator

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Long-time dispatch employee and Superior Mayor Roni Phillips has been hired as the new Mineral County jail administrator. (Kathleen Woodford/Mineral Independent)

Roni Phillips has been hired as the new Mineral County Jail Administrator. A position created by a special jail committee after the county’s Detention Center closed on Dec. 3, 2017 due to a shortage of detention officers. Several steps have been taken to get the jail reopened, including the hiring of Phillips for this new position.

As the Jail Administrator, she will oversee the Detention Center and duties include being in charge of the center’s personnel, payroll, budget, care and safety of the inmates and officers, grants, and maintenance issues. These were duties that were under the county sheriff’s position and by creating the new job it will relieve the sheriff and deputies to concentrate on patrol.

After 29 years of working in dispatch for the County Sheriff’s Department, Phillips is excited about her new job, “I’ve always loved coming to work and doing what I do. With this job, it will give me more interaction with everybody.”

Though there’s a learning curve with the additional administrative duties and procedures, like booking prisoners, Phillips said she understands a lot of this jobs aspects and has a lot of experience. When she first started out in dispatch, the deputies would book the prisoners but it was the dispatchers who dressed them out and walked the bull pin, keeping an eye on them.

Now, with federal and state inmates and the complexity of the facility they need to have at least two detention officers on duty at all times. With recent hires, the sheriff’s office now has five people in dispatch and will have six detention officers. They are currently in the process of hiring one more detention officer. New officers have a year to go the academy which last four weeks. Phillips will also need to attend additional training for her new position.

Currently, Phillips, who is also the Mayor of Superior, is dealing with the new hires, remodeling the jail, and learning the ropes and it’s been challenging to find enough hours in the day. But once everything is in place she feels the department will be running smoothly.

Currently, Phillips makes about $31,680 annually with the prospect of about a dollar an hour wage increase with the new position. However, wages are still be negotiated and there are still discussions as to whether the position will be hourly or salaried. The committee is also reviewing the exact duties and looking at similar job descriptions across the state. According to Pay Scale, an online website, the national average pay for a Jail Administrator is $15.79 per hour with the annual salary range from $22,302 to $74,935 depending on the location.

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