NEW ORLEANS - Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman and Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration have worked out a short-term compromise over funding the federally-mandated reforms to the parish jail.
Under a settlement announced at a hearing in Federal Court Monday morning the city has agreed to pay more than $1.88 million to fund the consent decree operations for the reform measures at Orleans Parish Prison.
The question of whether the sheriff or the city would cover those costs has been at the center of the controversy since the federal consent decree was formally announced.
The city will fund the measures, but only for the remainder of October, November and December. That money will allow the sheriff to hire an additional 42 guards at the jail. Gusman also said it will allow for a new "competitive pay scale for deputies."
"I'm pleased to report that the Court has approved a settlement agreement," Gusman said in a statement.
"With the increase in funding, the Sheriff's Office will be able to hire additional medical staff, to hire 42 additional jail security personnel, and to provide a livable wage to current jail security personnel, who now work a 12-hour shift," Gusman said.
Deputies will see their annual base pay rise from $21,000 to $27,000. For corporals, the annual base pay will go from $27,000 to $31,5000 annually; for sergeants, from $28,000 to $33,000; for lieutenants, from $33,000 to $34,000.
In signing off on the agreement, Judge Lance Africk acknowledged in his ruling that the mayor and the sheriff both had to make difficult decisions in the case.
But there are still unresolved issues as to how to fund the consent decree past Jan. 1.
The two sides will utilize the upcoming City Council budget hearings to work out funding for 2014. The budget presented by Mayor Landrieu last week contained no funding for the prison consent decree.