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Friday, February 26, 2016

Commission chairman says 2015 'pretty good year' for Morgan County

We commend Ray Long and the Morgan County Commission on their jobs.  Long says that Washington could learn something from the Morgan County Department Heads.  We commend the commission for working 40 hour+ per week, showing up for work, attending meetings, and meeting with the public.  That is all part of the job.
Franklin must have taken lessons from Washington prior to taking office.
Let's get right to the meat of the problem with one of the Heads of the Department.  The Morgan County Sheriff's Office.  Franklin says that the jail will not immediately be filled to capacity, that they have to follow Federal rules to properly staff the jail.  Ask any jail supervisor, current or previous, how many times in the past four years Franklin has met the Federal rule for maintaining adequate staff in the jail.  Isn't it true that the only pod that has been halfway adequately staffed is Sparks because he absolutely refused to work with less than the mandated number of persons per pod?  Hasn't he been forced to work with far less than the minimum number of mandated employees per pod?  Why don't you tell the public, Ms. Franklin, how dangerous it is for both the corrections officers and the inmates to be placed in a position with inadequate and untrained staff.
Franklin should be doing a staff analysis right now.  Franklin is quick to say currently the jail requires 102 corrections officers.  Ask how many corrections officers currently work for the MCSO.  Ask her how many of the corrections officers are trained.  Ask her how many of those corrections officers have over tazed inmates in the past three months.  Ask her if the female corrections officer that tazed a black man three times is still working while the white male corrections officer was allowed to resign.  Check the list of employees that exit the MCSO employment each month and ask Franklin to explain how she is currently meeting the Federal mandate both from a trained workforce and adequate resources to manage the jail.  How is Franklin managing to keep trained corrections officers when they are dropping like flies?  More employees left this week and there will be more employees leaving over the next two weeks.  Ask the Feds to come in unannounced on the night shifts to see how the pod supervisors are forced to conduct their night inspections.  The jail staff is under staffed, under trained, under paid, and Franklin is never there to make a command decision. 
Some things the County Commission may want to consider in the future are; according to our sources, we have deputies, corrections officers, and other personnel working, plus some working on call, that have not received full pay for their service for over four years.  Who gives a rat's petooty that this issue may come up in the near future?  How is the county going to handle over 1.2 million in back pay plus taxes if these issue comes to pass?
We hope someone out there is thinking about the potential of MCSO back pay.  If the documentation proves the complaints to be factual the county will have no reserves to work with.
I believe this blog may have caused me to become a little heated.
Posted: Friday, February 26, 2016 12:10 am | Updated: 2:15 am, Fri Feb 26, 2016.
From starting construction on a jail expansion to reducing the number of flat tires on garbage trucks to departments returning unspent money at the end of the fiscal year, Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long called 2015 a good year.
Those examples were among several highlights cited by Long in his annual State of the County address Thursday morning at the Doubletree by Hilton.
Construction started in June on the 450-bed, $11 million expansion of the Morgan County Jail, and work is expected to be completed in late summer or early fall. The addition will bring the jail’s capacity to 950 inmates.
“The expansion should cover us bed-wise for several years,” Long said.
Decatur is contributing $2 million to the jail construction and will pay the county $100,000 a month for 20 years to house up to 120 city inmates in the jail. The city will close its jail when the county addition is completed.
Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said after Long’s speech that the jail addition won’t immediately be filled to capacity.
The county must abide by a federal court order to properly staff the jail. The county now is required to have 102 jailers. Franklin said she did not know how many additional jailers will be needed to meet the court order.
“We’ll have to do a staff analysis based on the number of occupants we have at each stage,” she said.
Franklin said the county will take Decatur’s female inmates first when the county addition is completed. All work release, misdemeanor and trusty inmates will be housed in the new addition, which will be classified medium security, she said.
Franklin said her office is financially prepared to operate a larger jail once the expansion is completed.
“Those costs were factored in when we started looking at this,” she said.
Long said the county had to pull $560,000 out of its reserves to adopt a balanced budget for fiscal 2015. But, he said, a watchful eye on spending by department heads allowed the departments to return $400,000 of unspent money to the general fund when the year ended.
“I think the folks in Washington could learn something from our department heads in Morgan County,” Long said.
Long gave a brief status of most county departments with their accomplishments and planned projects.
He also praised each of the four commissioners and the work they’ve done in their districts.
“These four guys do a great job for Morgan County,” he said. “They work hard every day.”

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