Jeremy's Notebook

Commission Gets Jail Update

July 9, 2013

During this morning’s budget workshop, the Escambia County Commission was updated on the operational transfer of the Escambia County Jail. Staff is currently working to relieve Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan of the jail by October.

“I feel very confident we’re still on schedule,” said Interim County Administrator George Touart. “I haven’t seen anything that’s going to raise that million dollar flag.”

The Commission decided to take control of the jail last month, finding the sheriff’s budget request—driven by a mandate to satisfy a recently completed U.S. Department of Justice investigation—too high, and betting that Touart can satisfy the DOJ’s concerns for $2.6 million, a sum originally meant for employee raises.

“I’m gonna do my darnedest to make it work,” Touart told the board this morning.

Budget Director Amy Lavoy said that staff is currently reviewing contracts associated with the jail, determining if they are renewable and desirable. She said the Human Resources Department is also reviewing employee contracts, and that the IT department is assessing the 22 systems it must transfer.

County Attorney Alison Rogers said that she had spoken with the DOJ, and that the agency was in the process of creating a draft agreement.

“A jumping off point,” Rogers said.

The attorney also said that the DOJ investigator had suggested the county begin its jail remediation in the area of mental health services.

Commissioner Lumon May cited the DOJ’s recommendation to take measures to decrease the population in the jail. Touart said that the county was talking to the judiciary and “finding an air of cooperation.”

“They understand the problem,” he said. “They’ve read the papers, they understand the problem.”

The commission also decided this morning to rework the funding mechanism for the jail transfer. Instead of funding the transfer with the $2.6 million employee cost-of-living increases (a portion of which Touart hoped would remain to fund partial raises), the Commission voted unanimously to use money from the sheriff’s and the clerk of court’s internal service fund. That amount totals about $3 million.

You Might Also Like

  • J L Gilley July 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I watched the budget meeting today and was totally appalled at some of the comments made by “Our County Commissioners” all I can say is I’m glad I live in Lumon May’s district, he appears to be the only one with a grip on reality. Steven Barry seems to have common sense and a true desire to understand the gravity of budget process. Grover Robinson is only concerned about changing policies that benefit him and his libraries, he has a hard time listening, he would rather raise his voice. Wilson Robertson appeared to focus on the 3% across the board pay raise.which would be wonderful, but without budget figures it is just a pipe dream. Then, Valentino, what can I really say, truly he is narcissistic and a bully. George Touart never tells a lie, really? I applaud Sheriff Morgan for standing up for the employees and wanting to do the right thing. Hopefully, in the end honesty and right will win. Otherwise, it is going to be a sad state of affairs for Escambia County.

  • Me. Reality July 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    So how much rent are the bocc going to charge the sheriff for his building? Whens that coming. I think sir knight sheriff morgan has been called on his bluff.

  • Bob July 9, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    They are stupid! That money will be all gone when the Sheriff has to pay out all the leave which is why it was set aside. What a bunch of clowns and the biggest one is GeorgieMac!

  • L.Laird July 9, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    “I feel very confident we’re still on schedule,” said Interim County Administrator George Touart… Meaning we will return the running of the jail to former Sheriff Ronny Mac and his flunkies. We will have private Correctional company who will pay me a commission, my old friends GOB’s will have a share of all of the private company’s profits running the jail until it becomes too costly, too many deaths of inmates, but we will have our money already and we will run off to Alabama were it is safe to rip off tax payers and be reelected. Godfather Valentino and crazy Uncle Wilson should be ridden out of town on a rail. Commissioner May is able to see the disaster come, where in the world is Barry and Robinson, are they being threaten by crazy uncle and god father goon to speak up and demand that Touart be fired and return the running of the jail too our most competent and honest Sheriff we have had in years. If not, then we the citizens of Escambia will become liable of millions of dollars of law suites and millions of dollars of cost over run. I am speaking from one who worked in the jail for 3 yrs. as a psychologist for a private contractor… They were only interested in profits, and I was sued for medical malpractice three times because Ronny Mac and Williams would not permitted mentally ill inmates to be transferred out to Lakeview…They died at the hands of untrained guards….it cost you tax payers millions of dollars to settle these case’s…get ready folks, you have not seen nothing yet…

  • CJ Lewis July 9, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Assuming they can make the Jail no longer dangerous and no longer violent for a rock bottom $2.6 million, something I’m suspect that Sheriff Morgan would have already recommended if it was doable, I guess this means that we can all expect to see a cumulative $3.1 million reduction in our property tax bills, the amount from the general fund no longer needed to fund the Library that will instead be funded by the new MSTU. Combined with the cumulative $1.4 million reduction on the city side, city taxpayers no longer forced to pay twice to support the Library, those of us who live in the city are going to have a little more money next year with reduced county and city property tax millage rates.