P.S., or whatever happened since...
Last we left it, the county controller on 9-30-13 looked at the "Prison Operational Cost 2012" document
received here in a county RTK answer. He saw it stapled to 3 other pages, together bundled as a titled
"Financial Report" on a separate title cover page. The "Prison Operational Cost 2012" document was
the fourth of 4 such stapled pages, following the cover and 2 pages of a written report from the county
As the controller held and reviewed the "Prison Operational Cost 2012" document on 9-30-13 from the
RTK answer, he said that he wrote the undated, 2-page report to his 5 other fellow county prison board
members. The 3 commissioners, DA, jail warden and the controller comprise the county prison board.
On 9-30-13 in his office, the county controller had no explanation why his 2-page written report greeted
his completely different group of county jail ad hoc work group members. Nor could he explain why the
2-page document was not noted as being received or reviewed in any of the meeting minutes of the next
few county prison board meetings. Since the 2-page document were, as he said, a report of his to the 5
other county prison board members, those prison board meeting minutes should have noted that the
report was received from him.
The controller said, as he reviewed the mysterious 4-page piece of a large volume county RTK answer,
that his 2-page essay-type report was not part of a county jail ad hoc committee Fiscal work group
report. He had no explanation why I received it in a RTK answer that requested copies of county
generated jail ad hoc work group reports.
So last we left it, the county controller had no explanation why his 2-page report to his 5 county prison
board members was part of a RTK answer of county jail ad hoc work group reports. He had no
explanation why the greeting on the 2-page report was to county jail ad hoc committee work group
members when he wrote it to prison board members. Ain't that something?
Last we left it, the county controller said that the "Prison Operational Cost 2012" document that I
received in a RTK answer was the chief county clerk's document and work that she generated. He said,
matter-of-factly, that the chief county clerk wrote the budget document.
The "Prison Operational Cost 2012" document was significant in the RTK answer because it was
included with, stapled to, what was gathered up and packaged as a county jail ad hoc committee work
group report and, more importantly, because the "Prison Operational Cost 2012" clearly was a
document composed or at least last updated in 2013 and showed only about one-half of the often quoted
$690K total spent that year on out of county cage rentals.
Last we left it, after the controller looked at the "Prison Operational Cost 2012" budget document and
said it belongs to the chief county clerk, an email was sent to the chief county clerk to ask why or how
her 2012 jail operational budget showing only half of the out of county cage rentals that year, was
attached to a RTK answer. I asked why her report got stapled to something that the controller said he
wrote for the county prison board.
But before I left the controller's office on September 30, I had to ask.
"Now, do you see where I am coming from?" I asked the county controller that day, as he looked at the
"Prison Operational Cost 2012" document that I received in the RTK answer.
Yes, he shook his head yes to answer. He had no explanation why an incorrect budget was stapled to 3
other pages, sent under RTK and presented as his work.
Although I wanted to show the "Prison Operational Costs 2012" budget document to the controller, I
certainly acknowledged the stack of what he said were $690K in commissioner-signed requisitions for
2012's out of county cage rentals on his table. Since he mentioned my visit to his office at a public
meeting to discuss the new jail plans in Bullskin, I've received inquiries about the visit and requests to
include more information about the visit.
I had no intention to sift through the stack of requisitions. Days before the visit, I thought I had made it
clear that I was not questioning his grand total of $690K. Nobody had questioned that grand total, to the
best of my knowledge.
The audited numbers were supposed to become available at the end of October, and I had never heard
anyone else dispute that $690K total expense for 2012 out of county jail housing. Too, I am not a
handwriting expert and neither of us really had the time to sift through the requisitions.
Even though nobody questioned the $690K total, how could I have received a RTK answer document with
a total half the always quoted $690K total and not at least ask about the much lower total on the budget
The RTK answer report -- regardless of who, if anyone, ever actually did receive the 4-page RTK
document in question -- "Prison Operational Costs 2012" document was the only source or reason why I
contacted him originally to ask about that year's out of county cage rentals.
"Sean, that amount ($690K for 2012) was never in question," I explained.
"That's not what I'm hearing," he quickly replied.
What? His comment surprised me. Nobody had ever even hinted to me, or to anyone I was aware of that
the 2012 out of county cage rentals did not total his quoted $690K amount.
"Read the (news) papers," the controller told me.
"I do read the papers. I've never heard of anyone saying anything differently or disagreeing," I replied.
Well, I hadn't. Nor did anyone in casual passing ever even hint off the record that his $690 total was
What didn't make sense to me, I told him, was that the county has not spent $7M or $4M in 10 years on
out of county rentals.
Of, course, he agreed.
It didn't make sense, then, that he, months earlier, had told newspapers that we spend $700K a year on
out of county cage rentals. It made even less sense, and became more of a circus, as I told him, when the
county commish chairman told the media that we spend $400K per year for rentals.
Neither man's quotes in the papers made sense because they were wrong and misleading. The grand
total for out of county cage rentals for a decade had been well under $1-2M. Not that that's chump
change, mind you.
That there were not excessive amounts spent on out of county rentals prior to 2010 is a fact. Prior to the
county commish chair and controller's time in office in 2010, the jail rentals to other counties was not a
significant financial burden on the county.
But if people didn't stop to think about it, sometimes all they heard was the high $400K and $700K per
year references in the paper from the 2 elected officials and assume wrongly that it had been that high
for a long time.
When people didn't stop to think about it, they sometimes confronted anyone opposed to spending $30M
on a new jail, often, too often, confronting with a misconception or exaggeration of how much out of
county cage rentals had really cost.
Did the commish chair and county controller not consider that people who heard those high per year
numbers that the 2 of the quoted would panic, wrongly assume those high amounts were accurate
averages and tell anyone opposed to building an all-new jail that it's time to support the all-new jail
project outside of the county seat?
Prior to the controller's suggestion that I visit him and show him the RTK answer and "Prison
Operational Cost 2021" document that I received, he said he knew that I wanted the truth. He was
correct in his perception of my motives, as I did and still do want the truth to be known.
As we left it on 9-30-13, the controller never did relay a particular date of a newspaper, writer, name of
an article or reference to anyone specifically stating that his quoted $690K spent in 2012 to other
counties was inaccurate.
Why he wrongly thought there was something in the paper to that effect surprised me and still does.
5 Nov 13
Homepage/Return to R&R