In an acrimonious meeting of the usually quiet Public Buildings Authority, one Oklahoma County commissioner criticized the Sheriff’s Office yet again. Meanwhile, the Board of County Commissioners agreed to a lease for the Oklahoma County Jail and made statements regarding the political unrest in our county and beyond.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) made a request of the Public Buildings Authority (PBA) for the painting as well as some minor repairs of their new offices at the Krowse Building, 2100 N.E. 37th in Oklahoma City.
The PBA, a public trust composed of the three county commissioners as trustees, oversees the physical and financial state of all county-owned buildings. The OSCO has only recently moved into the county-owned Krowse Building, formerly occupied by the Department of Wildlife.
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The Sheriff’s Office made a request today for money to repaint the offices as well as repair some drywall, trim, and floor damage, as well as add a wall to split one office in two. The estimated cost proposed by the OCSO was $55,000.
Danny Honeycutt of the OSCO explained that some painting of office spaces has already been underway, with employees painting sometimes off the clock.
District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey asked how much of the proposed budget was for painting and was answered that $46,000 was recommended for painting. Calvey was not inclined to spend that much money on the project, saying that it was a lot of money just because somebody doesn’t like the color.
When Honeycutt said that he believed the OSCO is being a good tenant and partner in this endeavor, Calvey disagreed, saying, “I don’t think you’ve been a good steward of taxpayer money.”
Calvey suggested that the Oklahoma Military Department is still interested in purchasing the Krowse Building and has, in fact, had money allocated to them for said purchase. “I believe we owe it to our nation’s military and to the Oklahoma National Guard to entertain that offer.”
Calvey went on to question the use of two other facilities already owned by the OSCO, one in Midwest City and one in Spencer. He pointed out that the Spencer location was formerly a bank and so it has a vault, which would be useful for weapons and evidence and other sensitive items.
Honeycutt claimed that neither facility would accommodate the current needs of the Office.
District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert posed the rhetorical question, “If any other county department was moving into this building, would we be having this discussion? I don’t think we would.”
Calvey moved to approve only $9,000, solely for work on drywall, trim, and floor, which he amended to $9,500 at the urging of District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan, so that the new drywall could be painted. That motion passed 2-1 with Blumert voting against.
The Board approved a lease agreement between the County and the Criminal Justice Authority (Jail Trust). Details were limited during the discussion.
The Lease will now go to the Jail Trust later the same day Monday for approval or rejection.
At the end of the Board of County Commissioners meeting, all three Commissioners were given time to make comments. Today all three addressed the unrest following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis.
Commissioner Blumert read a prepared statement. In her statement she said, “For myself, my team, and those of us in this room, it is our job as leaders and especially to those of us
who are white, to not only say “I’m not a racist” but to do the work everyday of becoming Anti-Racist.”
She went on to explain, “Anti-racist means looking deeper into ourselves and seeing how the system has benefitted us over and over, while it has pushed down, shoved out, and killed our black neighbors.”
Commissioner Maughan, in his comments, condemned the minority of people participating in the protests in Oklahoma City who chose to destroy and deface property, saying that it draws away from the point of the protest.”
Commissioner Calvey echoed Maughan’s statements adding that the right to protest is sacred, but that it was wrong for some few people involved to destroy property. He went on to say that what happened in Minneapolis was wrong and that those involved should be handled by the legal system.
The Board of County Commissioners meets again on Wednesday, June 10 at 9:00am.
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