There's a shortage of employees at Oneida County Jail and as a result, mandatory overtime is crushing the COs who are left, according to the union representing employees there.

Luis Roman, Local 1249 Union President, says the COs both new and experienced are forced to work 12 to 16 hour shifts and he's afraid it's driving away the veteran employees who offer important experience to the jail staff.

Currently, there are more than 50 vacant positions at the jail and along with Bail Reform, the pressure on the current workforce is reaching dangerous levels, according to Roman.

Roman appeared on WIBX's Keeler Show on Monday and talked about a potential solution that will keep the experienced workforce on the job during these difficult times. Roman says incentives need to be offered to the workers who are eligible, or near retirement eligibility. Currently there are 37 employees eligible to retire in the next 2 years, and 14 of them are currently eligible. Roman says losing these employees would leave the jail in an unsafe position. He said that Bail Reform has changed the jail population and has created a more dangerous group mod inmates.

During the interview, Sheriff Rob Maciol was scheduled to call in about flooding at Oneida Lake and agreed to bet conferenced with Roman to discuss the situation. Currently, the COs are not in contract negotiations with the county. Contract negotiations are scheduled for the end of the year.

Roman expressed a lack of confidence that Local 1249 would be able to come to an agreement with the county based on the fact that the union representing the County road patrol are currently at an impasse.

Sheriff Maciol said he agrees the current situation for COs is difficult, but he said a lack of new recruits and budget limits out ion his control have made for a very difficult situation.

Keeler Producer Andrew Derminio stressed the fact that Maciol thought he was calling in about high water levels at Oneida Lake. He agreed to come on with Roman after host Bill Keeler made the request to join the conversation. Derminio said Keeler thought Maciol intended to call in to join the conversation with Roman.

Listen to the complete interview here.

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