The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 1, 2014

Jail needs report due in April

By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer

---- — CLINTON — Progress is being made on two Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission projects.

A $53,000 jail needs assessment conducted by Shive Hattery is moving forward, with the CCJCC paying approximately 56 percent of it. The rest of the project will be covered by the Clinton Police Department at 16.4 percent and Communications at 27.6 percent.

The jail assessment will outline a plan for a new county jail. During a Thursday afternoon tour of the jail, Assistant Jail Administrator Joe Steffen pointed out areas where the jail is outdated and cramped, including the cell blocks themselves. He said the store rooms are overstocked, some of the plumbing and utilities are in disrepair and the jail is outdated and antiquated.

Only six bed spaces were open in the jail Thursday. Steffen said there have been times when the jail has been full.

Recently, representatives from Shive Hattery met with Jail Administrator Craig Eberhart, Sheriff Rick Lincoln and Supervisor Brian Schmidt to collect six years of budget data for the jail to plan for its future needs. The firm will look into the staffing, food costs and other needs of a 96-bed facility.

"There's very many variables that still have to be taken into consideration," Lincoln said at the CCJCC meeting Thursday night.

A final report from Shive Hattery is planned in April. Eberhart informed the board the presentation is expected to last multiple hours.

"Well, for $30,000, I hope it would be longer than an hour," Schmidt said.

The CCJCC also is progressing on the search to fill the coordinator position, left open by the resignation of Brian McKenrick in September. A total of 16 candidates submitted applications by the Feb. 14 deadline, including one applicant from Washington, D.C. and one from Texas. A committee has narrowed these applicants to five.

"Some of them were fairly easy to eliminate; some it was questionable," Eberhart said.

The five individuals will answer specific questions in a short video to allow the committee to see who they area and get to know their personalities. Lincoln added it also will allow the committee to see the candidate's level of technological knowledge and decide if the person can be the public face of the CCJCC. The interview panel will still meet with all five candidates before a recommendation is brought back to the CCJCC board.