County officials vent to court over ‘rude’ jailer

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Spat could result in inmates being moved to Shelby County jail

By Ben Carlson

Anderson County Jailer Joani Clark says she has had enough of Franklin County’s jailer, and is considering moving inmates to Shelby County.
Clark revealed the problems she is having with Jailer Billy Roberts during last Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Anderson County Fiscal Court.
“We’ve had numerous problems and it’s getting on my last nerve,” Clark said during her department head report. “I’m getting a proposal from Shelby County.”
The problem between Clark and Roberts has apparently been festering for months. Clark said Roberts is trying to pick and choose which inmates he will accept, and is rejecting inmates with mental or drug problems.
“If an inmate isn’t perfect, he wants to send them to other jails,” Clark said. “My view is that if you house one, you house them all.
“I can get along with anyone, but I don’t appreciate getting those screaming phone calls.”
Several attempts Monday to reach Roberts were unsuccessful.
Clark said Roberts is creating “terrible problems” for police officers.
Magistrate Forrest Dale Stevens asked Clark if that includes the Kentucky State Police.
“Yes,” she said. “We are either going to have these issues straightened out or it’s time for a change.”
Clark isn’t the only one who spoke out against Roberts, who has been Franklin County’s jailer since 2006.
County Attorney Bobbi Jo Lewis and Sheriff Troy Young said they attended a recent meeting with Roberts in an effort to iron out problems.
It didn’t work.
“I have to say I was very disappointed on how their jailer responded to our jailer,” Lewis said. “He was not very professional.”
“Rude,” added Young.
Moving inmates to Shelby County could prove costly for both counties, particularly Franklin. Anderson taxpayers pay $30 per day for each of the 50 to 75 inmates housed at the Franklin jail, which equals roughly $600,000 a year.
“It would definitely affect our budget and we would have to review and it and make adjustments,” said Franklin County Judge-Executive Ted Collins. “The only contract we have is with Anderson, and most likely we’d have to go out and get other contracts if we lose this.”
Shelby County Jailer Bobby Waits said the additional inmates would be welcome there.
“I’ve talked to her (Joani Clark) about a contract on several occasions, but we haven’t done anything yet,” Waits told a reporter with the Sentinel-News in Shelbyville. “It would help us, financially, it’s revenue, but we haven’t agreed on anything yet. But we could certainly accommodate them, with the way our inmate population is down. Right now, we have about 250, so we would be full if we get them, but that would be no problem, we can handle them.”
Anderson taxpayers would have to foot the bill for higher transportation costs if inmates are moved to Shelby County, which also charges $30 per inmate, per day.
Clark said the jail in Woodford County is too small to handle Anderson’s inmates, but Shelby has an average of 72 empty beds per day.
“The real drawback is the extra travel and gas,” she said. “But if we’re going to pay $30 per day, we expect $30 of service.
“We’d like to stay in Frankfort, but the bad is starting to outweigh the convenience.”
Conway said Roberts had been in to see him a couple of days before Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting and didn’t mention any of the ongoing problems.
“He knows I’ve been asking around [about other jails], and he’s just trying to smooth things over,” Clark said.
Conway said Monday that he has scheduled a meeting Friday with Lewis, Clark, Collins and Roberts to discuss the problems.
“We’re going to have a sit-down,” he said.

Fiscal court notebook

Will big brother guard solid waste?
Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway told magistrates he is considering installing security cameras at the solid waste facility to catch those illegally dumping into the county’s compactor.
“I want to know what’s going on,” he said, adding that he has found two no-no’s — household trash and building materials — tossed into the compactor.
“There was a guy tearing down a mobile home and getting paid to do it,” Conway said. “He was putting it in the compactor. That has stopped.”
Conway said he continues to discuss the problem with solid waste employee Josh Chambers.
“Maybe he needs to come out of the trailer more often,” said Magistrate Buddy Sims, referring to the small building near the compactor.
“I’ve talked to Josh about it,” Conway said. “I hope he gets it straightened out.”

New business license plan OK’d
Burgoo, fair and other vendors who peddle their wares in Lawrenceburg this summer won’t have to buy a county business license to do so.
The fiscal court voted 6-1 to amend the ordinance which requires businesses operating in Anderson County to pay a fee. Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway was the lone dissenting vote.
The amended ordinance also excludes garage and yard sales, among other exemptions.

Generator purchased for 911 center
Magistrates approved a recommendation from the 911 Advisory Board to buy a new backup generator for the 911 center.
The one already there was 11 years old and lacked the capacity to operate the recently upgraded 911 center.
The new generator will cost $15,000, including installation. The old one will be moved the Anthony Stratton building in the county park, and used to help operate the emergency shelter during storms or other events.