The Clayton County Board of Commissioners meets tonight to hear why the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office is seeking another $3.6 million to repair hinges and locks at the Clayton County Jail. CCSO also is asking the BOC to approve a $103,496.68 annual contract with Trane U.S. Inc. of Davidson, N.C. for emergency HVAC coil repairs to the women’s housing units at the jail.

This is is the first BOC meeting since the new FY 2024 budget was passed. In the weeks before the FY 2023 budget expired, Sheriff Levon Allen had appeared several times before the BOC to request additional funding for lock and hinge repair at the jail.

Tonight’s agenda shows CCSO is asking the board to approve a $3,644,097 payment to Willo Products Company, Inc. of Decatur, AL “to build and install wedges” at 540 swinging doors in the jail. The money would come out of the Building Maintenance Department’s General Fund, not out of any funds at CCSO.

A related budget amendment is also on the agenda.

The wedges, which the company brands as “Willo Wedges,” are designed so that the receivers cannot be packed with debris.

The company produced this video of its installation at the Fulton County Jail, which in 2004 was sued in federal court by the Southern Center for Human Rights over dangerous conditions. As part of a 2006 consent order, the State of Georgia and the jail agreed to install new locks, which they did in 2012:

YouTube video

The 6:30 p.m. regular agenda shows several items related to funding for jail repairs on the consent agenda. Items on the consent agenda are generally voted on without further discussion unless a commissioner asks to “pull” that item for discussion or requests that it be held until a future meeting.

As of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, tonight’s 5:30 p.m. pre-agenda meeting showed no specific items other than consideration of what is to be on the regular business meeting agenda.

Other law enforcement and first responder related items on tonight’s agenda include:

  • A budget amendment for design and building of a winter weather supply and storage building at the Clayton County Police Department’s Sector 4 Precinct, as well as a feasibility study and site location for a Police Department Training Academy.
  • A resolution for Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services to apply for funding from the Georgia Trauma Commission for trauma-related equipment and courses for EMTs, taking place July 1 through May 30, 2024›.
  • A memorandum of agreement between the Clayton County Police Department and the Forest Park Police Department so that FPPD can “gain access to Clayton County Police Department’s radio frequencies.” FPPD has its own 911 center, which sometimes requires calls to be switched between the city and the county, delaying reponse times.
  • A resolution allowing CCFES to accept $583,941.44 from the Georgia Department of Community Health, which is the state’s share of Medicaid supplemental payments for ambulance service. The payment is part of the state FY2023 Upper Payment Limit Ground Ambulance Payments for claims between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.
  • a resolution in support of the 2nd Annual Public Safety Golf Tournament at Lake Spivey Golf Club.

Other items of note on tonight’s BOC agenda include:

  • A resolution asking the Housing Authority of Clayton County to “reconsider its rejection of Articles of Agreement for the construction of senior living housing at its next meeting.” The resolution mentions the articles of agreement are related “to the development and vertical construction” of that housing.
  • $82,750 in asbestos abatement and environmental remediation work at the Behavioral Health Crisis Center by PYRAMID Remedial Systems of Alpharetta, using 2021 SPLOST funds.
  • $83,000 in wall, ceiling, and painting repairs at the Shelnutt Intergenerational Center by Jewel’s Pressure Washing and Renovations Company, LLC of Rex, using 2021 SPLOST funds.
  • a $613,600 annual contract for county planning and zoning services to CPL Architects, Engineers, Landscape Architect and Surveyor D.P.C. (P.C.) of Decatur, using the Community Development General Fund.
  • a memorandum of agreement between the Clayton County Library System and the Clayton County Health District for Georgia Personal Responsibility and Education Program, aimed at preventing youth pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Resolutions for memoranda of agreement between the county and the Clayton County Health District to hold an Exercise and Fitness Initiative at the Lake Spivey and Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Centers
  • A resolution accepting a $755,711.04 Atlanta Regional Aging grant for home-delivered meals, medical transportation, transportation to Senior Centers, personal care, homemaker, and congregate meals for Clayton County residents ages 60 and up.
  • A memorandum of understanding between Central Services and “certain” food truck vendors servicing county events.
  • Resolutions for the county to conduct November 2023 elections for the cities of Lake City, College Park, and Jonesboro.
  • A resolution authorizing locations for “advance voting and election day polling places with extended operating days and hours for the November 2023 general and runoff elections as approved by the Clayton County Board of Elections.”

Two Library Board appointments (by Anderson, through November 4, 2024 and by Hambrick, through July 21, 2026) are up for consideration, as is a License Review Board appointment (by Turner, through July 16, 2027).

Public hearing on county car decals

There’s also an item open for public hearing about allowing the BOC “to authorize exemptions for decals on certain County vehicles.” While the agenda doesn’t specify which exemptions, which vehicles, and which decals, Sheriff Levon Allen has been criticized for placing decals bearing his name on CCSO vehicles while serving as interim sheriff. Opponents saw this as Allen using county property as “rolling billboards” for his campaign for sheriff, which he won by a narrow margin.

What invoice?

CCSO has yet to produce responsive records as to the cost of those decals, for which The Clayton Crescent filed an Open Records Request S008106-020823 on February 8.

That same day, CCSO wrote:

“At this time the Sheriffs Office is experiencing a voluminous amount of request at this time. We are looking at 3 to 4 weeks to satisfy request as they come in and we try to answer them as they come in. We will update you when information becomes available. Thanks  for your patience!”

On February 9, CCSO wrote:

“Please be advised that Clayton County Sheriffs Office is clear on your request and will update you with any changes in reference to your request. Also please be advised that Clayton County Sheriffs Office is experiencing a voluminous amount of request at this time  and may take 3 to 4 weeks to satisfy your request. Thank you so much for you patience!”

On February 22, CCSO wrote:

“Please be advised that the second part of your request [records of payment for decals, wraps, or other branding on Clayton County Sheriff’s Office vehicles between October 1, 2022 and February 8, 2023] hasn’t been received by the vendor yet. ( Non Responsive Documents )”.

The Clayton Crescent then filed ORR R008587-031023 on March 10, seeking “”All invoices, bills, purchase orders, requests for payment, checks, records of electronic payments, receipts, contracts, and payment records involving the Clayton County Finance Department and HG2 Emergency Lighting (and any other sources) for services between October 1, 2022 and March 10, 2023, for services and products, e.g.: Logos, digital mock ups for proofing, rebuild/recreate graphics, logo design integration, custom vinyl wrap design, vehicle graphics, vehicle lettering, partial and full vehicle wrap design, window tint, decals and logos, vehicle wraps, covert decals, box truck wraps, vehicle window wraps, black reflective, ghost graphics, truck lettering, reflective wraps, and reflective lettering, installation.”

The county forwarded that request to CCSO.

On March 15, Sgt. Kali Hutt replied:

“Please be advised on my previous correspondence I stated that there was no responsive documents, correction- I have provided to your the invoices that we have in our possession. If we are not in possession of an invoice, that has not been provided, hence I cannot provide a document that is not in our possession, nor are we the holder of the document, once said invoices are received your request will be updated.”

The primary and runoff have passed, and a new fiscal year has begun, but CCSO has not yet produced any documentation of how much it paid for its vehicles to be rebranded with Allen’s name, who paid for it, who did the work, and when. It also has not explained why it has no invoice(s) for those decals, whether they were gifted to the county, and, if so, by whom.

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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