By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Cleveland County Commissioners on Monday approved a new contract for the county’s jail project manager, architect Wes Brannon.
The new contract is for Brannon’s work on the creation of a day holding facility for inmates awaiting court hearings in the county office building. Brannon has worked as the county’s on-site representative for the the F. DeWayne Beggs Detention Center at Highway 77 and Franklin Road.
Rusty Sullivan, county commissioner and chairman of the Cleveland County Justice Authority, said Brannon’s previous contract for his work on the new jail was canceled because they were technically done with the project. Sullivan said the day they got the last billing in for the new jail was when Brannon’s contract was canceled.
With Brannon’s old contract, he received monthly payments. During the beginning stages of the project he was paid about $18,000 a month which later tapered down to about $12,000 as it reached its final stages. Over the course of that time, from December 2009 until November 2012, county jail trust records show Brannon was paid approximately $543,000.
Sullivan said Brannon’s contract was paid monthly because the project was so labor intensive. The county will be paying him significantly less with the new contract because they will be paying him hourly he said.
“It saves the county a lot of money that way,” he said.
The new contract will pay Brannon $110 an hour.
Sullivan said it was at the request of Cleveland County judges that they are building the day holding cell. For many years the inmates were brought in the court room and put in the back to await their hearing he said.
“The judges demanded to have a day holding cell here for them to come in for their court appearances,” he said.
The inmates are currently using the old jail as a day holding cell but when commissioners approved to have it torn down with a 2-1 vote, other options had to be considered.
A floor plan for a new day holding area was approved in early November by the commissioners. An area on the third floor of the east courthouse will be reconstructed for the project. The area is where a portion of the original jail used to be before it was gutted years ago.
The space was being used for storage for the sheriff’s office and court clerk. It is directly adjacent to the security area that is currently set up on the third floor of the courthouse.
The project will be paid for from funds generated by the county jail’s quarter percent sales tax.
Other agenda items: County commissioners also discussed a list of surplus items from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. The list included 56 items from the old jail.
Instead of having the surplus items being sold at auction, County Commissioner Rod Cleveland suggested they look over the list and see if some of the items could be transferred and used at the juvenile detention center since they have a need for some of the surplus items.
Cleveland also mentioned that when the old jail is taken down, the construction company could also take care of the surplus items. Cleveland said the company could remove the items and sell them at auction and it would be netted out of the overall fee for the project.
Commissioners tabled the agenda item until needs of the juvenile detention center have been further reviewed.
In other business, there are 390 inmates in the F. DeWayne Beggs Detention Center to date. Of those, 71 inmates are waiting to be transferred to Department of Corrections and 17 are awaiting judgment and sentences.
Other agenda items approved by the board included:
· Disposal of a computer power back-up from the County Clerk’s Office that was junked Nov. 21
· Disposal of a Hewlett Packard Scanner from the Sheriff’s office which was junked
· Blanket purchase orders and Fiscal Year 2012-2013 purchase orders
For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.