Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Nashville needs a Judicial Campus Master Plan before more money is spent on Sheriff renovation or consolidation “plans”.

Margo Chambers is a citizen activist who closely follows metro events.  In this letter to members of the Metro Council she ask that the Capital Improvements Budget be amended to remove spending on the Sheriff's relocation plan. I think she makes a good argument. 
From: "Margo Chambers"
Subject: Today's Vote on Capital Spending
Date: June 14, 2016 at 11:58:20 AM CDT

Nashville needs a Judicial Campus Master Plan before more money is spent on Sheriff renovation or consolidation “plans”.
Yesterday I attended a tour of the Harding Place Jail.  Four days prior to this tour, I was permitted to sit in a CJC Renovation Meeting for 15 minutes.  Two very different stories from the Sheriff Department were delivered in less than 100 hours.
Yesterday I listened to Sheriff Hall explain why the consolidation of four sheriff properties from downtown will be a part of the Capital Spending request given to Council, today.  He explained he does not know ‘where’ certain other ideas for the CJC Renovation plan came from – but it wasn’t from HIM. 
The Sheriff’s pitch yesterday:  the reason Council should spend $20M or $40M to consolidate the Sheriff’s four properties into the CJC Renovation project is... every other Metro department does this!  Every other Metro Departments get city funds without presenting a plan, so “Why not let the Sheriff” do this, too?
Last Thursday, I heard a Sheriff employee confirm to the 'CJC Renovation' Design Team (chair is General Services, Nancy Whittemore) that the Jerry Newson Training Facility would NOT be involved in any part of the CJC Renovation project.
Today the Sheriff asks you to endorse several different versions of the same project name.  Please do not endorse this.  A Failure to Plan, is a Plan to Fail.
There has been no Judicial Campus Master Plan presented for two years in a row.  Despite the city paying a contractor $1.5M to produce a Judicial Campus Master Plan.  Despite the city awarding a contract to produce a Judicial Campus Master Plan.   Despite Council voting down the (essentially same) Sheriff’s “plan”, last year!
Despite everybody understanding the CJC building is in bad shape!
Please approve amendments in this year’s budget which remove spending taxpayer money on any Sheriff Relocation “Plan”.  
This would include not spending on the Sheriff’s CJC Renovation ‘plan’, or an Inmate Relocation ‘plan’, or a Sheriff Consolidation ‘plan’, or any other plan which applies to our Judicial Campus.  Due to what the Sheriff said, yesterday!
Please do not fund city projects which have several different versions of the same plan name.  The CJC Renovation Project should have ONE version. 
Do not approve spending on the CIB project CM Steve Glover inserted last minute, into the CIB, last year.  That action appears to have wasted at least $10M worth of bond money. 
Please approve amendments that will clarify how and when city money can be spent.  Establish accountability in the Procurement department.   
Things to consider - Inconsistencies given:
The Metro Procurement Department refuses to get a contract deliverable:  the Judicial Campus Master Plan.  Council paid $1.5M in 2014 – and Contract 317260 was billed.  Today, the Sheriff and General Services claim they do not know what a “Judicial Campus” Master Plan means.  This points to a General Services “Fail”.  If it is true that no one knows what Judicial Campus Master Plan means then WHY does General Services ask Council to spend $1.5M on something not defined?   Is Council going to let General Services do this again when Council approves spending $1M, today, on a Juvenile Justice Center Master Plan?  What exactly does this mean?
Metro pays a private prison company (CCA) $20M a year to manage 1,000 empty beds at the Harding Place facility.  Today, Council is being asked to use taxpayer money to ‘temporarily’ pay the Sheriff to house approx 1,000 inmates at the Harding Place facility  - for the CJC Renovation.  Someone (Sheriff or CCA) at Harding Place already has the excess capacity needed to temporarily house the inmates from the CJC center.  Who is it (Sheriff or CCA)?  Should Metro pay TWICE, to house inmates?
I have found $17M in Revenue coming from the State to Metro, for a Sheriff contract with CCA at the Harding Place facility.  I have not found a $20M Expense, per year for the Metro/CCA 1,000 Empty Bed Management contract.  This is another city contract never communicated to Council (points to a Procurement “Fail”).
If consolidation and cost savings are important:  can Metro save money at Harding Place by asking the Sheriff and CCA to use the same vendors?  Yesterday on the jail tour I was told the Harding Place jail complex has two vendors for things like medical care, inmate food, inmate clothing, phones, etc.  That seems odd. 
And expensive.  The Sheriff has one medical contract for ‘their’ inmates;  CCA (at Harding Place) has a different medical contract at Harding Place.
The State is involved a lot, with Sheriff duties and responsibilities.  According to the State, The Sheriff’s Office must be located close to the main county jail (so it really does matter where the county jail moves ‘to’).  This affects “release” and “Pre-Trial Diversion” – which affects Court Case load.  Judicial Campus impacts.
In 2013, the State Comptroller issued a 'Finding' that Davidson County had underreported (!) 5,000 inmate beds.  The State asked Metro for a refund.  I did not see a reduction to Metro by the State (as was suggested), due to this ‘Finding’.
Please do not vote to release Capital Spending dollars on an unknown and unsafe Sheriff “plan”.  Council will be held accountable for advancing a poor city plan.
Margo Chambers
Nashville Resident District 24

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