State Rep. Kevin Murphy



Murphy bill would correct disparity in corrections officers' pay scale


HARRISBURG, June 9 – The House Labor Relations Committee this week approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Kevin Murphy that would correct an inequity in the salaries of management-level corrections officers within the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.


Specifically, the measure (H.B. 2432) would place managers and officers within DOC on a consolidated pay scale that includes pay rates based on management rank and ensures that salaries of managers are not surpassed by subordinate officers.


Currently, commissioned officers are on a different pay scale from that of their subordinates within the H-1 bargaining unit and are subject to leapfrogging by newly promoted lieutenants who have received contract pay increases. Additionally, DOC-commissioned officers are subject to pay freezes and have had their pay frozen eight times in as many years. In July, after a 4 percent increase, sergeants will have a 1 percent higher salary than lieutenants at every step of the pay scale.


"This disparity and inequity creates low morale among managers and makes it difficult to attract qualified employees into management positions, not to mention a threat to public safety if qualified individuals aren’t filling these positions," said Murphy, D-Lackawanna.


Murphy said captains and lieutenants on each shift are responsible for a $200 million facility, the 200-plus employees on duty and an average of 2,000 inmates. They direct the work force, conduct security inspections and enforce department policy.


"Correcting this pay disparity problem is only fair to the commissioned officers who are charged with the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation of correctional institutions in the Commonwealth," he said.


The legislation awaits action by the full House.


Also this week, the state House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing June as Corrections Officers and Employees Month.


"These men and women work every day on the toughest blocks in the neighborhood and their contributions to our state should never be forgotten," Murphy said.