Kay County Justice Facilities Authority

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Newkirk, Oklahoma

 

The Trustees of the Kay County Justice Facilities Authority (JFA) met in regular session at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 8, 2007, in Courtroom ďBĒ on the Second Floor of the Kay County Courthouse in Newkirk, Oklahoma.Notice of the meeting was posted for public information on August 7, 2007, at the Courthouse front door, Commissioners Court, Courtroom B, and basement handicapped entrance of the Kay County Courthouse in Newkirk, Oklahoma.

 

Chairman Bruce Robinson called the meeting to order.Those present were as follows:Vice Chairman Carl Giddens; Trustees Ė Darrel Grossardt; Gene Smith; Jim Stieber; Everette Van Hoesen, Kay County Sheriff; Laile Wilson, Kay County Commissioner; Wes Young, Don Jones, Jail Consultant; Attorney Jeff Raley, Christy Kennedy, Kay County Treasurer; Mary Ramey, Kay County Court Clerk, Buddy Thomas, Scott Pemberton and Stephanie Ringgold, Kay County Sheriffís Department; District Attorney Mark Gibson; Sharon Rowen, Ponca City News; Charles Abbott, Blackwell Journal Tribune; Wayne White, Newkirk Herald; Tammy Reese, Kay County Clerk/Secretary.††Norris Frederick arrived after the roll call was taken (2:35 p.m.). (See sign-in sheet).

 

Robinson asked if all members received a copy of the minutes (special meeting minutes August 1, 2007) and asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes.Laile Wilson abstained.Robinson asked for all those in favor of accepting the minutes as submitted, say aye. All were in favor with one abstention.

 

Don Jones, Jail Consultant, said until we have an architect firm on board and the architect completes the study I can not answer the decision to renovate the existing facility or to build a new one.

 

Jones presented to the JFA a Consultants Report and Course of Action Recommendations.Jones said Don Garrison, State Department of Health, requested sections of this report.The report stated what occurred in the jail disturbance on August 5, 2007.Mentioned are some of the repairs that are needed to be made before inmates are allowed back to designated areas:Trustee area, install toilet and shower.Cut concrete for water supply and drains. Replace locks, repair doors, and replace light fixtures. Replace control board with new or hardwire locks direct to contact switches.Install independent cell intercoms. Complete renovation.Prison doors with lockable food pass, prison locks, ďhardenĒ inside of cells; install CCTV to view inside of cells.Modify to administrative segregation lockdown unit.

 

Jones listed an Action Plan to follow with dates, actions needed and the responsible party.The action plan included:Selection of an Architectural Firm (contract negotiations); Enter into a contract with the selected Architectural Firm (issue initial program statement to architect).

 

Van Hoesen said he took 11 inmates to DOC in Lexington.On his way back, he stopped to visit Guthrieís jail facility built by SouthBuild and remarked itís an excellent facility.Van Hoesen said he spoke with their Sheriff and he indicated he was very happy with SouthBuild.If any of you would be interested in going to see this facility the Sheriff said he would make the arrangements.

 

Robinson said the consensus would be that we look at the Guthrie facility on Saturday, August 11, 2007, before choosing an architect firm.

 

District Attorney Mark Gibson said his comments were going to start broad.

 

Gibson was interrupted by Chairman Robinson.Robinson said just one word of caution.

We are not going to point any fingers because that is all past history and we donít need to hear that stuff again.

 

Gibson replied I am not here to talk about anyone or anything other than the fact that Mr. Smith said we donít want to be rushed into anything; of course, Mr. Smith is in a difficult position because he is new to the board.

 

But, in terms of what was expected by Mr. Garrison when the commissioners initially created this board.We have not been rushing into anything.Garrison expected something to be done along time ago.I am not pointing fingers because I am very appreciative of what work you have been doing.None of us know if Mr. Garrison is going to decide tomorrow to close our jail.He is not going to commit to the commissioners, the sheriff, the JFA, or to me how long is too long.We finally had the crisis many of us have known was pending for a long time and the next crisis will be a lot worse, if there is one.Financially, the fact that we now have to ship inmates off, and the commissioners are going to address today fixing the pod; we donít know how long that will take or how much money.There is no way to know how long we will be shipping prisoners off elsewhere.I wanted to state as the legal advisor to the county and to the commissioners, sheriff and everybody involved here that something has to happen now.That doesnít mean today or that you canít go Saturday to Logan County.I had a very lengthy conversation with the Logan County Sheriff and District Attorney.I would strongly urge this board to meet next week and make a decision on an architect.I would strongly second Mr. Jones statement to you that from here on out the State wants to see a time table.A time table stating the things you want to do.Something has to be done Ė itís that simple.I have no doubt that a jail has to be built.I have not heard anything from the contrary of this board in terms of believing that we are going to have to have a new facility.I want to stress things must happen very rapidly now.I stress that with the commissioners; there is no more time.This jail could be shut in the very near future if a plan of action is not aggressively undertaken.I am making that point to you because I have no doubt thatís the case.

 

Gibson said I will tell you up front I am a huge fan of SouthBuild (SB).The first time I met with them in Noble County (8-9 years ago) they have been utterly professional and have done everything ask of them from everyone involved.Gibson quoted from many authorized references (mentioned names) and said anyone present could contact them and talk with them first hand.Gibson said Commissioners and Sheriff from Noble County stated they have total satisfaction with SB.Gibson said he questioned the issues between them and a general contractor and having all the sub contractors.Noble County Sheriff said it is more work but they are very happy with the process.Most importantly, Sheriff Hanger stated that of all the Sheriffís that have built jails in recent years, the number one complaint he has heard is when there is a problem with the general contractor they can not get past the finger pointing.General contractor points to the architect and vice versa.One of the reasons Sheriff Hanger is so satisfied with SB is they are responsible.Noble County goes to one person (SB) and they get things done.

 

Gibson said he also spoke with Rob Hudson, District Attorney in Logan County.He said they will open the doors of their new facility November 1st.Mr. Hudson reported, and this is after almost being to the end of their completion, expressed total and absolute satisfaction with SB.Gibson then visited with Sheriff Richardson, Logan County, and Sheriff Richardson said and I quote, ďI am one hundred percent pleased with this facility and with SB.ĒRichardson said that absolutely everything they said they would do from contracting to design, solving problems from disputes they have done exactly what they said they would do.

 

Gibson said I pass those specific personís opinions on at request but for me as the District Attorney of this county and having worked with SB in Noble County, I strongly would urge the board to go that direction.The biggest thing is we have got to get a plan.We need to get a structural engineer to look at our jail and tell us if we can do anything with it or not.In 30 days you need to be ready to make a decision of whether or not we need to build a new jail.

 

Board members asked Gibson about a 24 hour lock down.Gibson gave them the legal reasons why we can not do something like that, plus adding we donít have the facility or personnel.

 

Commissioner Schieber called the Board of County Commissioners special meeting to order.

 

Schieber explained his reasoning for wanting this joint meeting to discuss hiring an administrator for the jail.Schieber said he spoke with Don Garrison and the State Departments Attorney.Schieber said Garrison indicated if JFA would take the jail over and make improvements in the next 120 days he would postpone the levies of the fines.

 

Don Jones reiterated that Garrison had basically told him the same thing.If we will show progress and improvements he will hold things back.

 

Schieber said Garrison wants a telephone call tomorrow informing him of what was decided today.

 

Many questions and concerns arose from the JFA concerning hiring a jail administrator and who would be in charge of the jail and the jail administrator.

 

DA Mark Gibson addressed the legalities of some of their concerns.First of all, the JFA would have to decide if they wanted to take over the jail in the near future and take action.If you vote to accept responsibility and authority over the jail at that point you are the authority over the jail.You hire, fire, set policy, etc.The money would come from the commissioners.A jail administrator, based upon what the commissioners decided at Mondayís meeting, they are going to authorize hiring an administrator at $40,000 a year.

 

The JFA questioned how doing this would solve anything.

 

Gibson finished the legalities by saying you, the JFA, would be responsible to hire a jail administrator and at that point the Sheriff and his personnel are no different than Ponca City Police Department and would have no connection with the jail.They literally are completely out and the jail administrator would hire his or her employees.From this point on the jail is run by this trust authority and whoever is hired as jail administrator.

 

Trustee Gene Smith asked if this happened if the JFA would be responsible for the five Federal Lawsuits against the Sheriff.

 

Gibson said those are against the Sheriff and the county.I have not yet determined the specifics of that and part of that would depend upon how it is set up by you and the commissioners.For instance, if you had total decision making authority at that point you would carry the liability and the county would be the backer, but I can not directly answer your question yet because I donít know yet.

 

Many of the board members spoke up at this point with several concerns. ††Norris Frederick said when we (JFA) were brought on to serve on this board I was not under the impression I would be running a jail.There is some experience levels, training, educational issues, and law enforcement issues that at this point I donít intend to get into.For the JFA to governor a jail administrator who reports to me when I have no knowledge as to what is he reporting, I have a real problem with that.Do I think we need a jail administrator?Yes, said Frederick.Frederick said he came on to the board to help renovate current facility or to help build a new facility.

 

Chairman Robinson said were we to assume operation of the jail we have a plan that Donald has prepared for us and would be the guidelines for us to use if we were to take over the jail administration part of the jail.There are some guidelines and plans that could be put into place fairly quickly.But for now Robinson said he is in total agreement with Norris and question the JFAís qualifications to take over the jail.

 

Commissioner Wilson addressed a question to Commissioner Schieber.Wilson asked what will happen if we donít have a jail administrator in place by tomorrow?

 

Schieber said if we can just go out for resumes.†† Schieber said he would have a jail administrator on board before the JFA would even think about taking it over.Schieber said he didnít expect the JFA to take the jail over today without having a jail administrator there to operate it.It will take at least a month to hire an administrator.

 

Jail Consultant Don Jones said in all reality to set up the trust authority with the policies and procedure and operational part of the jail, including the inventory, the existing equipment that is in the jail, and figure out what was bought with which funds.Jones said with all that in mind it could take several months.

 

Wilson asked so just by going out for applications will this satisfy Don Garrison?

 

Gibson said he would like to clarify again that a jail administrator is not being required by the jail inspector or their counsel.Their saying that is a solution.If you took that step he, the state inspector, would consider that as a positive, as long as people were being interviewed and hired, etc.That is a solution to be considered but also there are others, as well.He (state jail inspector) wants to see concrete action.Gibson said I donít want anybody to think that he is requiring a jail administrator because that is not the case.

 

Both boards listened to current Jail Administrator Stephanie Ringgold.Ringgold talked about the jail conditions and the stress she and others are under each and every day working with prisoners.Ringgold said she has sacrificed her life for this job and stated she has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

 

The JFA board asked Van Hoesen to explain the hiring and training process of his staff.

 

The board expressed concerns about the budgeting issues.

 

Grossardt said he sees the immediate needs to fall direct with the county commissioners because of the position they are in.They are the county government. They are ultimately in charge of the county operations and, the sheriff, of course, is a player in that.†† I donít want to set this trust up to fail.I donít have any real reservations of taking over operations of the county jail once I feel confident it can be a violable endeavor and it will work.Until we have county money to fix the problems with the jail, I donít see us making a lot of progress.I feel all the players and all the entities are in place to fix current problems.Grossardt said it is all county money and if it means a mile section of roads canít get fixed this year in all three districts, so be it, you need to prioritize your money.

 

Leven commented and said we canít mix highway money - that is a state law.

 

It was the consensus of the JFA that they are not ready at this time to take over the jail.

 

Commissioner Leven explained that by statutes the commissioners can not take over the jail and the only way to take over the jail is through this trust authority.

 

After much conversation regarding this issue Van Hoesen recommended to begin the application process for hiring a jail administrator with a salary cap of $40,000 then revisit Item 4 on Agenda and make a recommendation on an architect.Recommendation was seconded by Grossardt.More decision occurred.The motion was amended by Van Hoesen recommending beginning the application process to hire a jail administrator with his or her salary not to exceed 80% of the sheriffís salary; the recommendation was seconded by Grossardt.Motion carried.

 

Van Hoesen recommended making a motion to select the architect firm.

 

Grossardt said we need to revisit Agenda Item 4D.

 

Motion was made by Van Hoesen and seconded by Stieber recommending SouthBuild as the Architectural Firm.

 

Robinson asked for discussion before calling for a vote.

 

Wes Young said he didnít know if the JFA is ready to make that decision.

 

Some of the members questioned problems that might occur with designing issues and quick response to issues because SB is located out-of state. While other members commented we could have the same problems receiving a quick resolve with firms located in state.

 

Giddens said he like the fact that SB would have a man here at all times.

 

Don Jones replied saying if that is a construction option that you prefer you can hire an independent firm to provide construction management services.

 

Discussion was made concerning the general contractor, sub contractors, bidding process, bid bonding, construction management services, etc.

 

Jail Administrator Stephanie Ringgold asked Don Jones who he recommended as the architect firm.

 

Robinson asked Don Jones who he would recommend as the architect firm since he is the JFAís Jail Consultant.

 

Jones said through his many experiences and from what he has seen so far and has been involved with his choice would be Architects In Partnership (AIP) in Norman.He said Kay Countyís interest was his best interest.I know what is going to happen in the next two years; I know what is going to happen if we try to add on or if we go somewhere else.I know the best and easiest course of action to go; I know whatís involved.I know what the contract is going to say; I know the problems and thatís where you try to minimize all those things.

 

Robinson said he thought it was very important to listen to Don Jones advice and added he too was impressed with AIP.They are a family firm and all they do is build jails.The principalís son is guaranteed to be on site once a week and Robinson said that was an encouragement to him.Robinson said he would have trouble not voting for AIP.

 

Brief discussion was made between members.

 

Motion was made by Van Hoesen and seconded by Stieber to withdraw original motion recommending SouthBuild as the architect firm.

 

Robinson said these issues would be revisited.

 

County Commissionerís adjourned their meeting (4:30 p.m.).

 

No action was taken regarding formation of committees for the Kay County Justice Facilities Authority.Robinson asked for the item to be left on future agendas.

 

There being no further business, motion was made by Van Hoesen and seconded by Young to adjourn (4:33 p.m.).Motion carried.

 

 

 

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Approved this _____ day of __________, 2007.

 

 

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† _________________________________

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Bruce Robinson, Chairman

 

 

 

 

Attest:

 

 

________________________________________

Tammy Reese, County Clerk

County of Kay, State of Oklahoma

Secretary, Kay County Justice Facilities Authority

 

 

 

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