By Joseph McCain
The Winston County Journal
The Winston County Board of Supervisors discussed a potential rough draft of the interlocal E-911 agreement with the City of Louisville.
The supervisors discussed that the new agreement appeared to meet all the requirements of the state attorney general’s office to be approved. County attorney Hugh Hathorn noted that he developed the rough draft to alleviate any of the concerns of the state by make sure the supervisors did approve all expenditures and all inventory for E-911 purchased with county E-911 funds would be assigned a county property inventory.
The supervisors tabled the draft for further review and advise a rough draft be submitted to the city for the aldermen’s input.
Winston Choctaw Regional Correctional Facility Warden Neal Higgason and Winston County Sheriff Jason Pugh announced in the Feb. 3 board meeting that the county had regained the American Correctional Association accreditation.
The facility regained the accreditation after a recent meeting in Tampa, Florida. The ACA audit team had visited the facility prior to the Florida question and answer meeting and found many of the previous failures under a prior warden to have been addresses by Higgason upon his taken over the role.
The accreditation program offered through the ACA Jail Accreditation Program is based on compliance of 141 applicable standards as a means to assist jails to become safer, more secure and to pro-actively protect themselves against liability.
The sheriff’s office staff and facility staff according to Higgason committed themselves to hard work and thorough self-examination of the jail facility, its policies and operations to ensure compliance with the standards necessary for accreditation.
The standards cover such areas as the jail’s administrative operations, staff and management training, safety and security, inmate management, classification, discipline, records, food service, sanitation, physical facilities, health care and other inmate programs and services. A jail must comply with 100 percent of the mandatory standards and 95 percent of the non-mandatory standards.
The ACA audit consisted of interviews with staff, observations of procedure and a thorough walk-thru inspection of the jail facility by the auditors. The purpose of the inspection is to verify the jail is actually doing what it says it is doing. Having an independent, unbiased set of eyes verify compliance to these standards provides the jail a real measurement of performance.
As noted by Supervisor Michael Peterson to the sheriff and warden the accreditation is an ongoing process so the staff will continue to work to improve some areas identified during the inspection and accreditation process to maintain continual compliance to the standards and improve overall operations. The accreditation is for three years.
“This kind of accomplishment does not occur without hard work, and training,” said Peterson. “Keep it up.”
In other business, the supervisors:
• Approved claims docket
• Approved payroll but discussed an way to itemize the docket so that each position in the courthouse is listed beside the funds being paid.
• Received a request to provide the county’s hiring policies from Carolyn Hampton. Hathorn noted he would provided all to Hampton. Peterson noted that most of the positions hired for by the county are posted with the WIN job center. Hampton noted she was not questioning any specific hires but wanted to make sure any Winston County could apply for open positions and that those positions were advertised or brought to the attention of others.
• Discussed some of the upcoming policy changes to the county handbook.
• Approved notary for Department of Human Services.
• Approved Shawn Butts as the new election commission chairman and Mattie Cooper as Secretary.
• Approved 16th section lease for Sunrise Cemetery.
• Approved annual payments for Care Lodge, Sally Katie Winters Home and the Louisville/Winston County Airport.
• Discussed HOME grant applications and noted that they feared the county did not have enough points to gain the grant. They also approve minutes from HOME grant meeting.
• Approved homestead changes.
• Discussed joining the state’s communication system. EMA Director Buddy King noted that if they removed the user fee from the program then joining the state wide system would be beneficial.
• Approved King to attend training in D.C.
• Approved member of the Sheriff’s office to attend RCIC training in Tennessee. • Approved adding a locking and keypad to new door at Sheriff’s office.
• Discussed the lawsuit at airport by Tim Rogers.
• Supervisor Gloria Turnipseed expressed her concerns over missing road signs in the county and the difficult it creates in emergency situations.
• Discussed CDL requirements for employees.
• Approved paying District 2 for Triplett Store Bridge repairs.
The next regular board meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 9 a.m.