Festering disagreements between District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) once again made their way into the Board of County Commissioners meeting Monday.
The Sheriff’s Office brought an item before the Board concerning a grant from the United States Department of Justice.
The DOJ-2019 National Criminal History Improvement Policy award for the OCSO Records Management System is in the amount of $744,845 and requires a cash match of $82,760. The grant, scheduled to start on the first day of 2020 and end on the last day of 2021, needed the approval of the BoCC for acceptance.
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Calvey asked Danny Honeycutt, legal counsel for OCSO, what type of records this management system would oversee, and if this would be something that should be awarded to the Jail Trust rather than the Sheriff’s Office.
Honeycutt explained that the records were for the law-enforcement side of the Sheriff’s duties, rather than the carceral system.
After the meeting, Free Press asked Calvey the reason for his Nay vote.
Eventually, both District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert and District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan voted in favor of accepting the money while Calvey voted “Nay.”
First, Calvey explained, “When in doubt, vote no.”
He went on to say, “I had a question about the Aegis program, which in my experience is a jail tracking program.”
He said he wanted to see what amount could be transferred to the Jail Trust as they take over the jail later.
“I wasn’t sure whether approving this now would preclude that or not,” said Calvey. “It may not. So it may end up being innocuous. But I wasn’t certain, so I voted no.”
Jail food, commissary
Another somewhat divisive issue was brought by Purchasing Agent Chantel Boso at the request of the Sheriff’s Office.
Bids for contracts to provide food service and commissary services at the Detention Center have been put off repeatedly over the course of the last six months.
At some point contracts like this will be under the purview of the Trust that has been formed to take over operation of the Detention Center. For now, contracts have been month to month while waiting for the Trust to have the authority to enter long-term contracts.
Calvey explained that the Jail Trust will be sending out a Request For Information (RFI) for many of these types of contracts. He suggested that rather than approving these two bid recommendations from Purchasing, that they defer the item for at least one week.
Honeycutt pointed out that an RFI will require a timeline for information to be submitted by contractors, then another timeline for assessing the submissions. He said it might be June by the time the process is complete. Then, the end of June is when these bids will expire and new contracts will need to be created anyway.
Calvey moved to defer the item, but the motion died for want of a second.
District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert then moved to accept the recommendations from Purchasing.
District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan asked to amend the motion to allow that any contract entered into from these bids would include a “30-day out” clause, allowing the county to get out of the contract with a 30-day notice. He then seconded the amended motion and the motion passed 2-1, with Calvey voting “Nay.”
Blumert told Free Press after the meeting, that she was glad that they accepted the recommendations. “It’s my job as a County Commissioner to do what is in the best interest of the County. It’s not personal. The Trust isn’t yet able to enter into these contracts.”
Currently, commissary services at the jail are staffed by jail employees, which limits the amount of time services are available.
Under the current arrangement, the commissary is available once a week on each floor of the jail, and there is no commissary service available over the weekend.
Taking on a new contract with Aramark, the company that already has the contract on food services at the jail, will allow persons incarcerated at the jail to have much more frequent access to commissary items.
Commissioner Maughan provided an annual report on the jail to his counterparts on the Board. He said that jail staff accommodated him for a tour on New Year’s Eve, typically the busiest day of the year at the jail.
His report included looking at a cell for women and a cell for men, as well as a brief interview with an occupant of each cell, both of whom said they were not being treated unfairly by staff.
Maughan’s one comment of concern about conditions was that the door to the basketball court required two deputies to open it. He said that’s something that needs to be addressed.
In 2019, each Commissioner served as Chair of the Board for four months in rotation. Beginning a new year of meetings today, the Board elected a Chair and Vice-Chair.
Commissioner Blumert said that she was happy to stay on as Chair if her counterparts wished. Instead, Maughan nominated Calvey to serve as Chair and Blumert to serve as Vice-Chair for the remainder of the year. This was agreed to unanimously.