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Brown appoints committee on disposition of old jail

Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown has empaneled a citizen commission to investigate whether the county should resuscitate its old jail facility or plan to expand the current jail facility.

The old jail has been mothballed since the county’s justice center opened in 2003 and it likely needs several hundred thousand dollars in repairs to be usable again.

In addition to the citizens on the committee, Brown said he has also asked Sheriff Barry Babb, who operates the jail, to participate as well either directly or through a designee.

Brown said a discussion he recently had with Babb motivated him about the issue over worries that state legislation passed last year will lead to a spike in misdemeanor cases which could translate to an increase in the county jail population. Changes to various laws increased the threshold for certain crimes such as theft and burglary, potentially increasing the number of defendants who will be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Those convicted on felony charges are, eventually, housed in the state prison system and not in the county jail. Those convicted of misdemeanors typically serve their entire sentence in the county jail.

“The sheriff made it very clear he was very worried about this,” Brown said.

This is the first committee appointed by Brown since taking the chairmanship Jan. 2. Although Brown got permission from his fellow commissioners to make the appointment, he did not advertise the volunteer opportunity.

Brown last year would often criticize his former fellow commissioners for selecting volunteers to various boards and commissions without advertising the openings. The difference here, Brown said, is that the committee has a short time frame and a very specific objective: to study what to do with the old jail facility.

Brown said he and his fellow commissioners remain firmly committed to publicly advertising openings on the standing, long-term commissions, boards and authorities including the recreation commission, planning commission and the like.

In the case of the jail committee, however “they have one little thing to look at with the jail and then it dissolves,” Brown said, estimating it will take about three meetings or so to accomplish that goal.

Brown said he is pleased with the variety of citizens who will participate as they come from a variety of professional fields including criminal justice, education, technology, real estate and government facility construction and operations.

“It’s a really well-rounded group on that committee,” Brown said.

In addition to Babb and Brown, other committee members include local businessmen Tommy Turner and Scott Bradshaw, former Peachtree City manager Bernie McMullen, former water committee chairman Chuck Watkins, retired lawyer and actuary Claude Paquin, photographer Bob Ross, and citizens Bess Stevens and Nova Brown.



Everything has to be done right now. So, the chairman selects the committee himself? Dispite Mr. Browns excuse and his highlights of the well rounded committee, he is failing again to live up to his promise to advertise for this type of committee. I am sure there are some other county residents that are capable of fulfilling these duties if given the opportunity.

Seems like the other commissioners fall in line too. Even after campaigning for openess. We have committee members who spoke during elections that they wanted public advertisements for these committees and now these people aren't speaking up or declining the offer.

Makes me wonder if we are in for another 2-4 years of hypocrisy.

Just noticed today that the Oddo Brothers now have ads in the Citizen. Never seen them advertise, even during tax seasons past.

Seems they are quick learners.

NUK_1's picture

Seen their newspaper ads for many years and usually they point out how they have quonset huts for offices:) They haven't changed lately, IMO.

Respected family business for many years. They don't deserve any ugly inuendo because of a business decision to advertise in the Citizen.

Been here 8 years. Never saw them advertise before.

Been here 8 years. Never saw them advertise before. I have a bad habit of questioning everything. Shame on me.

No shame on anyone--just might be good to question their business decision privately vs publicly. I know that Charles answers email with the same passion that he saw displayed at the Stormwater Town Hall Meeting and I suspect that Paul would do the same!

That should have been a private question.

One of my children worked at GTOs. It was her first job (96/97) and I remember one time that I dropped her off at work and she had on flip flops. I was pretty sure that she wasn't supposed to wear them to work, but kids know everything and parents know nothing. Mr. Oddo drove her all the way home (Brooks), waited while she got some "real shoes" and then took her back to work. That wouldn't happen in this day and age. Nice people.

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