Sheriff Makes Late Offer To Keep Control Of The Escambia Jail
July 23, 2013
Monday, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan extended a late offer to keep the county jail and defer some of his budget requests, if the Escambia County Commission can come to term with some of the conditions of his offer.
In late June, the county commission voted to take over the jail effective October 1 after Morgan notified them that he was giving them control of the lockup. The move came amidst budget negotiations and questions over how to best bring the Escambia County Jail into compliance with a Department of Justice report. The jail needs funding for new employees to comply with the DOJ findings and there was nowhere near a consensus among commissioners as how to fund the improvements.
In Monday’s letter to commissioners, Morgan said he would be willing to continue to be responsible for the jail.
“I continue to believe that transfer of the jail to the county is not in the best interest of the county or its constituent taxpayers. Transfer of the jail by October 1, 2013, will be challenging and will come at a significant cost in terms of labor and funding,” Morgan wrote. “Once the transfer is complete, reversing the process will be equally challenging. Additionally, transfer of the jail will divert attention and resources from the many serious issues county government now faces.”
- Morgan said he is willing to enter into an agreement to retain management of the Escambia County Jail until October 1, 2014, with the following stipulations:
- The county will increase the jail budget for the upcoming fiscal year by $2.6 million, along with mandatory retirement and insurance increases to allow for the hiring of a portion of the increased staffing recommend by the DOJ.
- Morgan will agree to defer seeking pay parity for deputies and detention deputies (about $2.6 million of his original request for holiday and overtime pay) until the next budget year.
- Morgan will agree not to appeal this year’s budget to the governor, if the county does not decrease his law enforcement and court security budgets.
Morgan said he believes his new proposal will be “much more palatable” to the DOJ than the current plan to “hurriedly transfer the jail”. If the county has interest in his proposal, Morgan suggests the formation of a negotiating team work out the details.