In Dec. 2 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
The new Russell County Detention Center's staff became a little clearer on Monday afternoon as the fiscal court voted to approve the hiring of 16 full-time and four part-time employees in a special called meeting of the county leaders. Five more full-time positions are slated to be filled at the regular December meeting of the fiscal court.
The new facility, slated to open in January, will have an 86-bed capacity and incoming jailer Bobby Dunbar, incoming administrative assistant Neil Bell and Judge-Executive Mickey Garner are getting many of the final obstacles lined out before it opens.
Monday's meeting proved to be a positive one for the new $3.5 million detention center as the employee hiring, including the class D coordinator's position that went to James Grimes, and the purchase of a van for the facility took place. The fiscal court voted to purchase a 1994 Ford van from a local church for $2,500. The van, which has 14 seats, is in good shape and has around 90,000 miles on it, according to Garner.
Rodney Ballard, a deputy commissioner with the state's department of corrections, was also present at the meeting and gave some insight and opinions on the detention center, including how many employees he thought the jail should have, 25 at minimum.
"Everybody in the commonwealth wrestles with this issue," Ballard said of staffing. He said there was no ratio of inmates to employee that was a standard among jails and that each distinct case is different.
While Dunbar hopes to run four 12-hour shifts for his employees Ballard said it was his hope that would turn to three 8-hour shifts.
Dunbar reminded the court that the schedule was a work in progress and could change over time.
Ballard did exhibit faith in Dunbar and his staff going forward.
"You've got a jailer that is going to put his best foot forward and do things right," Ballard said.
The county also agreed to buy three polo shirts for $12 each for all incoming detention center employees. The embroidering will be done by Thomas Sports Printing in Russell Springs. Anyone hired after the initial hiring phase will then be required to purchase their own shirts. Employees will furnish their own khaki pants and shoes, Dunbar said.
Near the end of the meeting, Garner recommended that Dunbar hire mainly folks from Russell County, keeping the jobs in the county and Dunbar agreed.
The detention center is located near the senior citizens center in Russell Springs.
In other business at the meeting:
• The court voted to pay more than $2,500 in taxes on the Shiloh Motel, which now serves as a transient house because the motel was not in the county's name at the first of this year if an exemption cannot be found by County Attorney Mark McGaha.
That money will come out of the county's general fund.