With little more than a month until the Sheriff says he and law enforcement staff will leave the Oklahoma County Jail, the Jail Trust met to do more talking, but take little action.
The looming deadline for the Sheriff’s departure from the jail failed to impart today’s proceedings with a sense of urgency, as only six of the nine trustees managed to attend the meeting.
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Greg Williams, the new CEO of the Criminal Justice Authority, provided a progress report to the Trust.
He has hired several people, including an HR manager whose first day was today. He has also hired a head training officer with years of experience in the Department of Corrections, as well as an assistant also with lots of DOC experience.
Williams seems optimistic about the future of the Jail Trust and his management of the Jail. He says one of the most pressing issues is planning a budget. Williams says that the captains at the jail have been supportive and helpful in identifying 16 staff members who are giving useful feedback on uniforms.
Senator Ben Brown, Trustee, suggested uplifting colors for jail staff uniforms.
As the Trust creeps ever closer to actually taking over the jail, there will be more employees of the Trust including, eventually, all staff positions at the jail.
Currently, the Court Clerk’s office handles payroll services for the jail and the staff of other elected officials. When asked the cost, David B. Hooten, County Clerk, stated that cost for his office to provide payroll services would cost approximately $1400, whereas private payroll services would likely cost significantly more.
The Trust agreed to create a Memorandum of Understanding with the Court Clerk’s office for payroll services.
The Trust also agreed that maintenance and repair work at the jail should continue to be provided by the County, as the County workers have the most familiarity with the structure.
Legal counsel funding
The Trust agreed to give additional funding for the Oklahoma law firm GableGotwals in an amount not exceeding $25,000 to be private counsel. This follows the amount not exceeding $25,000 that GableGotwals already received.
The Trust agreed to hire a consulting firm to provide technological strategic planning and risk assessment for the Trust’s takeover of Jail operations.
How those services will be dispatched as opposed to the current technological oversight of the jail was not discussed.
The Trust voted unanimously to consider entering a lease for the jail. That’s just the way it is, folks. The Trust didn’t do something, they agreed to consider doing a thing.
Some attorney will draft a contract for the County to lease the Detention Center to the Trust.
If the Sheriff will indeed leave by the 15th of April, one wonders if the Trust will be ready.
With one meeting left before the deadline, there is still a lot of work to do. Perhaps the whole Trust will be seated for the next meeting.
The next meeting of the Trust will be on April 6 at 1:00 p.m.
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