Mercer Sheriff Ernie Kelty is asking the county to increase funding in order to hire two more bailiffs at the judicial complex.
At the final meeting of the Mercer County Fiscal Court of 2021, Kelty said they were short two bailiffs, and as a result, the eight court security officers—who are all part-time employees—are exceeding their hours each month. The judicial complex is allotted 12 bailiffs, but Mercer has had issues filling the empty slots. Last year, the magistrates voted to use federal funding to increase bailiff salaries in order to add and retain staff.
If there aren’t enough officers to provide security, deputies from the sheriff’s office have to serve as bailiffs. At times, Kelty said he and Dep. Garland Christopher have had to cover shifts at the judicial complex.
“There is absolutely no compromise, we have to cover those hours,” Kelty told the magistrates last week. “We need those two bailiffs.”
The Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts reimburses up to $9 per hour for every bailiff they say the county needs. The AOC is conducting an evaluation in January.