Oklahoma County officials again push selecting someone to lead the county jail.
The nine-member Jail Trust met for four hours behind closed doors last week and two hours in private again Monday. Then, emerged from executive session without having reached a consensus on who to hire as jail administrator.
The group won’t meet again until November 18.
The selection process comes as Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor said last month, it’s time for the Jail Trust to take over come January 1.
“All I am trying to do here is provide some leadership and direction,” Taylor told reporters in October. “A long time ago, my mother said be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. Well, they go it. Take the jail.”
Some Trust members pushed back against the sheriff’s deadline.
“No one person, no one trustee has the authority to determine when the Trust is to take it over,” Trust Chairwoman Tricia Everest said after Taylor’s deadline was announced.
That statement came before an assistant district attorney told county commissioners the sheriff could pull his department out of the jail whenever he sees fit.
“As far as a deadline is concerned, it’s the constitutional duty of the sheriff to run the jail,” Commissioner Calvey asked at the board’s October 30 meeting. “Unless and until… that is turned over to, in this case, the jail trust. Correct?”
Assistant District Attorney Aaron Etherington simply replied, “No.”
“The sheriff, he can just walk away from the jail?” Calvey said.
“I believe he can, yes,” the attorney said.
Oklahoma law says the sheriff shall be in control of the jail in his/her county, however, it also allows for the county to create a Jail Trust to take over those duties.
It outlines how the Trust should be formed but says nothing about the transition process.
According to the job description, once selected, the jail administrator will make between $100,000 and $140,000.