Why no prior public mention of 2nd jail story plan and kids' jail?
What happened to Al and Tom's
$28-30 million price quote?
There's no way that the all-new plan in Dunbar Twp was coming in in that $28-30
million cost range that Al and Tom Crabtree repeated last year so many times, as
a solemn promise.
When the Ambrosini-Crabtree roadshow was underway one year ago to talk
about the three jail options, Crabtree consistently told audiences gathered at four
meeting rooms and halls throughout the county that all prior projects that he had
been involved in always, always came in under or at budget.
Sitting there listening to those presentations, I saw Crabtree's statement of
coming in consistently under budget on all his prior projects as being one
of the very few impressive things that added credibility to the project, of all the
things said from stage or microphone to the crowds those evenings.
For me, personally, I was wowed that Crabtree pointed out at each public
meeting that the county chose not to include projected costs to upgrade
the current jail for use as something other than a jail to the total cost of the jail
project. He had read my mind, it seemed.
Crabtree's statement one year ago to his own record or credibility as a planner
and architect meant a safer gamble of planning to spend up to, but no more than
To gather more support, this time last year, Crabtree and Ambrosini were on
righteous record of saying that they even thought that Fayette's all-new jail could
come in under budget.
Fast forward now, from then to one year later, to this more current time. We'll
never know what the project ultimately would have gone out for bid at, since it
hasn't been put out to bid properly and may never be put out for construction bids.
Through a hair-brained, controversial move that raised eye brows and should
have received swift DA intervention, the project went out to bid without county
approval, advertising a solicitation of bids in building trade publications and sites.
That stupid move had approval of just one of the two required county
commissioner signatures of approval. The prematurely published construction ad
in the trades drew interest from at least one ticked off contractor who submitted
a check to the county to obtain project specs for project bid.
Had it not been for that received check, the county controller and county would
not have known the public notice without county approval was published. Since
Ambrosini said something to the effect that this illegal publication with one
signature of approval was merely a "test run."
If all of this weren't so pathetically stupid, it would be funny.
In the aftermath of that fiasco, a second commissioner then gave out the
architect and building design plans to a personal contact for a second opinion,
withdrew his support of the project and put a halt to the plans.
Before the stink from Ambrosini's building trades ad without county approval
cleared, then Commissioner Vince Zapotosky jumped off the all-new jail bus and
halted all work being done in planning for the project.
He did so after giving copies of the project design to a personal contact of his,
reportedly, to obtain a second opinion on Crabtree-Sleighter's plans. His critics
say he acted unethically and claim he wanted only to give a personal contact an
early start at working on a proposal to build a new county jail.
From the time of the 2013 traveling Ambrosini-Crabtree road shows, the project
cost tally grew to include costs of sewage and costs to purchase land.
Although Ambrosini wrongly -- and, shamefully, not too long ago -- told an AM
talk radio host and listening audience that he thought the $28-30 million dollar
quotes included some money for the cost of land purchase.
Besides the guest radio talk show host that particular day and Ambrosini, the rest
of us seemed to know, without having to think twice about it, that no portion of
the $1.25 million price for the land that the county wanted to purchase was
included in Crabtree's quoted $28-30 million cost projection. With Ambrosini, one
never knows if he's genuinely confused or lying.
Either way, he was wrong.
When opponents to adding on, building or buying downtown talk, they whine the
same whine that we need a NEW jail because studies have indicated we do.
Did those studies come with a disclaimer that the meaning of NEW is something
built from scratch in a pyrite cesspool? No.
Following the Ambrosini-Crabtree 2013 roadshow meetings, when all we heard
were impressive reasons why we needed to build all-new on one single story,
somewhere along the line, the county opted to expand the proposed jail plans to
include a childrens' jail and increase square footage of the plan to change the
much hyped, one-story, cost-saving jail plan to a two-story prison.
The word "somewhere" is emphasized in the above sentence, since no real
mention of discussion of expanding the size of the proposed one-story jail to
include a second story level and adding kids' services was made in prison board
or county commissioner meeting minutes, prior to the planning commission
meeting to forward plans.
The expansion of the proposed cost efficient, one-story Dunbar Township jail to a
two-story jail and inclusion of kids' services were never topics covered in the
media. Nor were these subjects discussed in any Right To Know documents
received here when the county jail ad hoc work group reports were received.
When, then, were these two key changes in the proposed Dunbar Township
prison plan discussed and with whom? Besides deciding to build an even bigger,
two-story jail, and add other additional, unplanned space for a kids' jail, who
decided in what public meeting to throw the county into the ring of funding and
running expensive kids' detention services?
Hypothetically speaking, even if the jail problems are fully resolved in 2015 -- i.e.,
if downtown property or pre-constructed jail pods are purchased to house
prisoners and supportive rehabilitation services -- there will still be people from
Castle Shannon, whose $379 property taxes won't be affected if Fayette County
builds all-new in a pyrite cesspool, who write letters to the editor to support
Ambrosini's half-baked prison plan.
When two commissioners resolve the jail problem, sure, there will still be the real
Obstructionists out there whining and writing letters from their union desks or out
of the county residences that we didn't spend $28-30-32-40 million dollars plus
financing to fix the problem.
5 Oct 14
Al needs another road trip
In Killinger's Own Words
Warden Keen on prison recidivism