Board may award jail contracts

Published 5:11 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet in a special session Thursday to consider awarding contracts related to building a new jail.

The board is set to meet at 9 a.m. in the commissioners’ room at the Beaufort County administrative offices, 121 W. Third St., Washington. The board could vote to award contract to Mosely Architects to design a new jail for Beaufort County and a contract to MB Kahn for construction management for a new jail. Since Mosely and Kahn were recommended by the county’s jail committee earlier this year to provide those services, county staff members have been negotiating with the two companies.

The proposal to build a new jail is a controversial one. The board has had several 4-3 votes related to building a new jail, with board Chairman Jerry Langley and commissioners Ed Booth, Robert Belcher (all Democrats) and Al Klemm, a Republican, voting in favor. Voting against the jail-related matters were commissioners Hood Richardson, Stan Deatherage and Gary Brinn.

When the jail committee made its recommendations last month, Richardson, who opposes building a new jail, renewed his complaint that the authorization of the contract negotiations was a done deal before the jail committee reviewed companies’ qualifications to perform the services related to building a new jail. Richardson asked to see committee members’ rating sheets for each company that submitted proposals to provide the services sought. Richardson contended those rating sheets are public documents and should be available for inspection.

Langley said committee did not violate any laws regarding the review process. Langley said Richardson is suffering from sour grapes because his proposal to build a new jail behind the existing courthouse and jail facilities was rejected. Because of that rejection, Langley said, Richardson has worked to “derail” the current plans related to building a new jail. Langley said Richardson’s comments about the review process were nothing more than “grasping at straw” in an effort to discredit that process.

Several jail opponents have formed the Stop the Jail group in an effort to prevent the new jail from being built until a thorough study of whether a new jail is needed is made. The group questions whether county can pay for a new jail without raising taxes.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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