The Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority (Jail Trust) met Monday for the first time in a month. They voted to engage services from independent contractors and made a plan for reviewing Jail Administrator applications.
Public comment came in the form of a deputy calling out Commissioner Kevin Calvey for comments in the media.
The first two items for consideration by the Trust were to approve engaging professional services.
First was an agreement to engage the services of Eddward Herron, PhD. Herron is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and a Commissioned Examiner by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
His services are to be engaged by the Authority to perform an analysis of and reporting of the cost of jail operations at the Oklahoma County Detention Center.
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The second agreement was to approve an engagement letter with GableGotwals for Employment Law legal services.
As the Trust moves toward taking over management of the detention center, they will need guidance in Human Resource matters. The office of the District Attorney has no experts in employment and human resources, so outside counsel is needed to assist in navigating the complicated issue of still employing people who are currently employed, I guess.
A job description for the Jail Administrator was approved by the Trust on September 9, the Trust’s last meeting. The Trust gave a deadline for applications for the position of September 30. At some point outside of a public meeting, the deadline for applications was extended to October 10.
Tricia Everest, Chair of the Trust, pointed out that the deadline was approaching soon, but that the next scheduled meeting of the trust would not be until November 4.
Everest asked if the Body could agree to a special meeting to review applications. It was agreed that the Trustees would receive the applications in unison and would meet in a special meeting on October 18 and enter into executive session to review the applications.
As the Trust authorized hiring two separate independent contractors, the issue of funding the payment of those contractors brought up another item. District 3 County Commissioner Kevin Calvey requested a discussion and possible action to make a request of the County Budget Board.
The Trust would request that the Budget Board set aside a portion of the budget of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office from January through June of the coming year, which accounts for the last half of the fiscal year.
Trustee Frances Ekwerekwu asked Calvey if this was technically legal, as the Sheriff is still in control of his own budget. Calvey responded that it would be up to the Budget Board to determine whether they would reserve those funds, but that they legally could do so.
After some discussion, the Chair called a vote and the item passed with Sheriff Taylor’s proxy, Danny Honeycutt, voting Nay and Ekwerekwu abstaining.
Trustee Sue Ann Arnall requested an item for the Trust to ask for data from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) regarding jail employees.
Some employees at the Detention Center are law enforcement employees, some are detention employees, and still, others fulfill both roles. It is presumed that the law enforcement personnel will leave the jail to remain in the Sheriff’s Office when the Trust takes over operations of the jail. But the question of the dual-role employees remains.
Arnall asked for the OCSO to provide information on the number of each type of employee, and how many of them the OCSO intends to retain as Sheriff’s employees. Honeycutt expressed that he could provide that information by the Trust’s next meeting.
The President of the Sheriff’s Office chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, Larry Grant, was called forward to speak during Public Comment.
He beseeched the Trust to appoint a spokesperson who the public can trust.
He said that currently a lot of the public assumes that Calvey is the spokesperson for the Trust. He believes that Calvey “beats the drum” of blaming jail employees for deaths and mistreatment in the jail. He said the jail employees don’t trust Calvey.
By judgment of the District Attorney, responding to items that are not on the agenda is outside of the Open Meetings Act. Thus, Clavey sat with a blank face and never responded to Grant’s claims.
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