In a short and not–well–attended meeting of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority (Jail Trust), six Trustees heard the first two reports from the new CEO of the Trust, Greg Williams. The Trust also agreed to a domain name, ojcountydc.net.
In the first of his reports, CEO Greg Williams expressed his intention to hire five administrative positions to run the Detention Center. Those positions will be a deputy administrator, a building manager, a human resource program manager, a contract and acquisition administrator, and a training coordinator.
Some of these roles are what one would expect. The deputy administrator would supervise the management team and general administration. The human resource program manager would oversee the capital value of humans who work for the jail.
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For a facility charged with the health and safety – for whatever that might mean in a place designed to cage humans – the building manager’s role will be a busy one.
The building manager will be responsible for most of the details long criticized about the physical facility that is the jail. That includes the repair, maintenance, and preventative maintenance of all physical plant issues of the building. That includes the HVAC and plumbing, problematic components for years.
Contract and acquisition administrator
For the past many months some contracts have been on a month-to-month basis. These include commissary services, phone services for persons incarcerated at the jail, and video visitation for the incarcerated and their families. The Sheriff’s Department claimed multiple times that not updating these contracts on a longer-term has “left money on the table.”
Some Jail Trust members and Commissioner Kevin Calvey have debated what that might mean.
Calvey, for his part, has been reluctant to authorize Sheriff P.D. Taylor to enter into these contracts while waiting for the Trust to have the authority to do so for themselves.
These contracts are only a few of the many contracts with vendors that the Detention Center requires in order to function. The new management role will be responsible for accounting procedures, reporting, and invoice payment. As well as directing the jail’s business functions.
It is not a job I would want.
Imagine you were the manager of a hotel with a large staff of people responsible for the service of 1600 guests. Now imagine that none of those guests want to be in your hotel.
Training those staff members to keep your guests and each other safe will require a very specific set of classes and materials. The person filling this role will be required to develop lessons and training exercises, as well as inservice and coordinating CLEET training.
Running a jail requires a lot of moving parts, as the Jail Trustees and CEO are all going to experience in the near future.
The total recommended salary among those five roles is a tidy $500,000. The CEO’s salary is an additional $120,000, approved by the Trust at their January meeting.
These salaries raise the question of how Oklahoma County and the Trust will manage to have $620,000 dollars for salaries that didn’t exist in last year’s budget.
The Sheriff’s annual budget for 2018-2019 is approximately $51 million, of which approximately $33.9 Million is plotted for salaries and benefits.
Of course, most employees of the jail will become employees of the Trust, so we know much of that budget will change for the coming year.
But will the Sheriff’s budget be slashed in half so that he can continue law enforcement while we spend the other half on incarceration? Perhaps by one third or two thirds? These questions haven’t been answered in public so far, to my knowledge. It is a matter of great interest to me and others in the community.
The next meeting of the Trust is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on March 3, 2020.
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