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What's Happening, Washington County? Read here about some of the county "happenings."

THINGS TO KNOW:

County Services Committee Meeting for Monday, 1/29/24, has been CANCELED!  The county sent out notice Friday afternoon of the cancellation due to “lack of agenda items.”  


 

  Here’s the Sheriff’s Report for 12/16/23 to 1/15/24.  Not a lot of information there.  I downloaded a spreadsheet with much more information, but I couldn’t make the charges download, or I couldn’t figure out how to do that. There are 718 people incarcerated in the WCDC as of 1/26/24.  Eighty-six (86) of those have their address listed as “homeless.”  Homelessness leads to incarceration and incarceration leads to homelessness.  Until we address the root causes of our high incarceration rate, we will never get better and we will never build a jail large enough.  

You have to click on each name on the jail’s roster to see the charge(s).   


 


NO COUNTY MEETINGS THIS WEEK– AT LEAST AS OF 1/27/24 AT 9:49 PM IF ITEMS ARE POSTED LATER, I WILL UPDATE.



 

COUNTY MEETINGS FROM LAST WEEK:


   The Jobs Evaluation Salary Administration Program (JESAP) Committee met 1/22/24 at 3:30 PM, Fifth Floor Conference Room.   JESAP meetings are recorded audio only and they’re not posted online.  

  • The meeting included an explanation of the “onboarding process” for new employees.  Evidently there’s been some concern over the length of time it’s taking for people to go through that process.  The expectation for onboarding is one week, but could be more depending on the background checks which are done by a third party, and that can depend further on the role of the new employee.

  • The request from Buildings & Grounds to start the new Assistant Facilities Director at the first quartile was approved.

  • The request from Circuit Court III to start a new Juvenile Probation officer at the 1st quartile was also approved.


 

   The Special (rescheduled regular) Monthly Meeting of Washington County Quorum Court was Monday, 1/22/24.  You can watch the full meeting here:  https://www.youtube.com/live/Foq24ASfsmU?si=mM3kiY27gZEQRWJW


  The Ordinance to accept $117,953 for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) did not pass and will move on for its third and final reading at the 2/15/24 regular QC meeting.  Here’s a brief explanation of SCAAP.  Here’s a copy of the spreadsheet submitted with the grant application.  To get this money from the Department of Justice, we sell them information on certain immigrants who happen to be booked into the WCDC (people who are, or are thought to be, “undocumented” + have one felony or two misdemeanor convictions + are in the WCDC for at least four consecutive days.)


  My ORDINANCE AMENDING ORDINANCE 2017-44 did not passSee above YouTube video starting at 51:13 to hear what happened.  

  • When the ordinance was read, I asked that it be moved on to its second reading and that passed.  I then asked that it be moved to its third and final reading.  When I did, JP Kyle Lyons said he’s drafting an amendment to the ordinance after talking to “stakeholders.”  I asked for an explanation and JP Lyons said he “...will repeat but will not go into more detail.”  (56:20 in video)

  • At 55:07 in the video, Judge Deakins speaks as to some changes that need to be made to make it the best it could be and says, “I’d like you to trust me on that…”  Whereupon, we voted and I did not have the votes to move it to its third and final reading, and it was tabled until the 2/15/24 QC meeting.  

  •  As you know, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee has been suspended since early last fall. I sponsored this ordinance to amend the original ordinance to make more people eligible to serve on the CJCC.  This will allow the judge to appoint designees from various county offices and, most importantly, will increase the membership to include members of the community.  Read more here.   This amendment just broadens the base of prospective members.

  • The Conditional Use Permit (CUP)  for Kindness in Motion, an end of life veterinary office to operate in Wedington Woods was tabled.   Here’s their application for Kindness in Motion.

  • The CUP for the wedding venue known as Belle Terra Venue to be located at 17996 Bethlehem Road, Winslow, was not approved.  The vote was 7 to 5.

  • A request for renewal of a CUP for a 190 ft. communications tower on West Munyon Road was approved.

  • The CUP request for CDS Motorsports will also move forward to next month.  There was a good discussion about the CUP by the JPs.  I made a motion to include as an additional requirement that the project be approved by the State Fire Marshal, but that motion failed.  Then on Wednesday the JPs were sent a letter from the State Fire Marshal which you can read hereHere’s the application for and here’s the application for CDS Motorsports. 



 


REQUEST FOR BIDS/PROPOSALS

  • The county posted Bid 2024-03 for a 2024 Chevrolet Silverado Work Truck for the Sheriff’s office.  See the bid here

  • Another Bid (No. 2024-02) was posted for fifteen (15) Chevrolet Tahoes for the Sheriff’s Office.  

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We NEED Your Help!

  • ATTEND AS MANY MEETINGS OF THE QUORUM COURT ANDI ITS COMMITTEES


  • AS YOU CAN.  CHECK MY WEBSITE BETHCOGER.COM FOR DATES AND TIMES.   

  • Read the 2020 Criminal Justice Assessment Study here and learn more.  This tells us what we must do if we do not want to build a larger jail.  We’ve done very little.  We could have a robust pretrial services program up and running quickly and easily and with very little $$ investment.  The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) has offered to come here and set up the pretrial services program at no charge for their services and expertise.  We just need to pay for the actual program which could be started for around $250K to $300K.

  • Continue to ask Judge Deakins to appoint members to the CJCC and to do so immediately and take necessary steps to see the CJCC is properly appointed and operational.  Judge said last week he was having trouble finding people willing to serve on the committee.  This is too important. If you haven’t called, please do so, or send email, or go by the courthouse and speak to the judge in person. His door is “always open…” that’s what he said during his campaign.  SEE ABOVE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AN AMENDMENT TO THE ORDINANCE THAT CREATED THE CJCC TO ALLOW FOR MORE MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS.

  • Contact your JP and set up a time to meet them for coffee or just to get together.  Become a regular voice in their ear and urge them to vote for criminal justice reform and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.  I write this each week, but it really is important.  That’s how I got started advocating to the court back in 2019.  THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.  CAN YOU TAKE AN HOUR OR TWO AND MEET WITH YOUR JP AND SHARE YOUR CONCERNS OR COMMENTS, OR WHATEVER YOUR THOUGHTS ARE.

  • Share this Newsletter with your friends and neighbors!

  • Write letters to the editor.  letters@nwadg.com

  • Here's link to contact your elected representatives and other county officials: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tx_nJbsWcStPPtVIzPjzZxd5CBLC06BOUaNuG09JF0c/edit?usp=sharing

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