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Experts will help decide on Hernando County Jail repairs

BROOKSVILLE — The county will seek construction professionals to assess what really needs to be repaired in the jail, as the county clerk analyzes contract documents to determine how much of the responsibility for the fixes lies with Corrections Corporation of America.

At the same time, officials will strive to determine what big-ticket equipment and furnishings in the facility belong to Hernando County, while attorneys for the county and Sheriff Richard Nugent grapple with the legal agreements needed to formalize Nugent's takeover of the jail from CCA.

Those assignments were handed out to various officials Friday afternoon after all the parties met to discuss the complex transition ahead with just 104 days remaining before CCA leaves the jail and Nugent assumes the responsibility.

Having the office of Clerk of the Court Karen Nicolai figure out what belongs to whom in the facility is "a monumental task'' because the county did "a poor job of record-keeping,'' the sheriff said.

"Our goal is to not spend a dollar a second time for those items that the county purchased,'' Nugent said.

He noted that determining how much CCA should pay for repairs of the jail is also a challenge because "the contract so poorly defined'' responsibilities.

The county will be drafting a request for companies that can assess what work needs to be done to bring the jail up to a higher standard, Nugent said. The actual work will be bid after that assessment is complete.

Nugent has rejected a proposed ordinance formalizing his position as chief corrections officer. The document, which detailed the sheriff's accountability for maintenance, capital improvements and overall expenditures, was too detailed, he said.

"The proper ordinance just needs to be very simple and direct,'' he said. "They've added stuff in there that doesn't need to be there. We're not in agreement.''

An interlocal agreement will also be discussed by the attorneys when they meet Monday.

The early documents concerned Commissioner Jeff Stabins, who during Tuesday's commission meeting insisted that state law allows commissioners to assign the jail to the sheriff, whether he wants it or not.

"To me, the Florida statute governs this situation,'' Stabins said Friday. "The board is in charge. We vote to appoint the sheriff chief corrections officer.

"In such a role, he will work for the commission and he will receive what funding we choose to be appropriate to him to do that job,'' he said.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Experts will help decide on Hernando County Jail repairs 05/14/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 14, 2010 7:59pm]
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