Escambia County Commission Chairman Gene Valentino and Interim County Administrator have it in for Sheriff David Morgan. In open meetings they have repeatedly cast doubts towards the U.S. Department of Justice findings on the county jail and Sheriff Morgan’s running of the facility. They have pushed hard for the county to take over the county jail.
We now know that the expert that they consulted was Dennis Williams, who ran the jail under Sheriff Ron McNesby until he was reassigned after three prisoners, under his care, died over a 10-month period in 2005-2006.
Under Williams, the jail contracted with private contractors to run the jail’s medical services. When Morgan cancelled the agreement and brought the medical services internal, he saved the taxpayers millions. We have emails that show Touart has met with private companies to run the county jail.
The DOJ investigation was initiated based on incidents in the jail when it was under Williams –making it even more ironic that Touart and Valentino sought out his advice on how to deal with the findings. It’s not surprising that Williams would be critical of the Department of Justice’s five-year investigation and Sheriff Morgan.
We have obtained a series of emails from Williams to Touart and Valentino (to their personal, not county, email accounts) starting at 1:51 a.m. on May 28 criticizing Sheriff Morgan and DOJ. Each ends with the line: “share the good news…use words when necessary.”
PDFs of Williams emails:
Two days later, Valentino, after a BCC meeting, attacked on WEAR TV 3 Sheriff Morgan and his deputies. He later had to admit to State Attorney Bill Eddins that many of his comments where based on his conversations with a convicted felon who was in the county jail when McNesby was sheriff. Apparently Valentino did not tell the state attorney that he was also consulting with Williams.