Amid a state police investigation, jail officials are seeking an outside consultant for a review and audit of policies at Franklin County Regional Jail.
At Friday’s Fiscal Court meeting, Bill Read, the jail’s director of personnel, distributed a memo signed by Jailer Billy Roberts addressed to Judge-Executive Ted Collins and Fiscal Court requesting the review.
“It has been several years since such an outside assessment has been conducted, and our feeling is that this would give us an objective and neutral evaluation to see if operations need to be modified to better serve our goals and how such change should be implemented,” the memo read.
The memo is dated April 17, four months after Kentucky State Police launched an investigation into allegations of misconduct at the jail. State police began its investigation after Fiscal Court launched a separate investigation in mid-December.
A jail employee filed a lawsuit against Roberts, the jail and Franklin County in May after taking part in both investigations, alleging in the suit he was internally transferred after telling investigators Roberts favored some employees.
Roberts told The State Journal after the meeting that part of his decision to request the review was made in regards to those investigations.
“I just wanted to give a fair shake and make sure we’re running the place correctly and how it should be run,” Roberts said. “There have been some issues people have looked at. We’re not all agreeing on what people think this is or that is, but it is what it is … “
“I plan to run the jail to the best of my knowledge … and try to be fair to everybody – inmates and officers.”
Roberts and Read said an outside review hasn’t been done since the mid-1990s. They’re asking the court for permission to hire Robert Powell, of Powell Consulting in Georgetown, at $50 an hour to do the review.
Roberts said it shouldn’t take Powell more than 40 hours to conduct it.
Powell, who Roberts referred to as a “jail expert,” is a retired director of Local Facilities for the Kentucky Department of Corrections. According to the memo, Powell’s also done consulting work for Kentucky Association of Counties.
The memo was first sent to Collins’ office April 17, but it was passed out at Friday’s meeting by Roberts and Read after they said they hadn’t heard from Collins on the matter.
Collins told The State Journal he thought it was an internal memo and didn’t know Roberts and Read wanted it on the Fiscal Court agenda.
The review has yet to begin. It’s unclear if it will be voted on at a later Fiscal Court meeting or discussed privately among Collins and jail officials.
According to the memo, Fiscal Court will be provided copies of Powell’s findings when complete.