Monroe County facilities director Richard Crider addresses county commissioners on March 8, 2023.
Monroe County commissioners from left: Lee Jones, Penny Githens, and Julie Thomas.
The final decision has not been made, but DLZ is likely to be the firm that Monroe County uses to master plan and design a new jail facility.
At a Wednesday morning work session, Monroe County commissioners received a brief report from a committee that they created to review three responses to a request for qualifications (RFQ), to master plan and design a new jail.
DLZ was the company recommended by the committee. The other two responses came from Elavatus and RQRAW.
Monroe County director of facilities Richard Crider delivered the committee’s recommendation to the commissioners. About the three companies who responded, Crider said, “They are all very capable and proficient in what they do. And I believe we all felt like any one of them could provide a facility that meets our needs.”
But it was DLZ that got the committee’s nod: “One firm stood out above the rest and that was DLZ.” Crider added, “DLZ was the unanimous decision of the committee.”
Joining Crider on the RFQ review committee were: David Gardner, ASI Facilities Services contractor; Lee Baker, county attorney; Kyle Gibbons, jail commander; Matt Demmings, assistant jail commander; and Angie Purdie, administrator for the commissioners.
County commissioner Penny Githens (March 6, 2023).
County commissioner Julie Thomas (March 6, 2023).
County commissioner Lee Jones (March 6, 2023).
Monroe County sheriff Ruben Marté (March 6, 2023).
From left: Monroe County circuit court judge Darcie Fawcett and deputy prosecutor April Wilson (March 6, 2023).
President of the Monroe County Democratic Black Caucus, Nicole Bolden (March 6, 2023).
Monroe County councilor Jennifer Crossley (March 6, 2023).
Community justice response committee (CJRC) (March 6, 2023).
Jauston Huerta, director of FOCUS Initiatives (March 6, 2023).
At their work session this Wednesday (March 8), Monroe County commissioners are supposed to receive a recommendation on which of three firms to select, to design and build a new jail.
The three firms responded to a request for proposals (RFQ) issued by the commissioners. Reviewing and scoring the three proposals was a committee of staff from the county’s legal department, the sheriff’s office, the facilities department, and the administrator for the commissioners.
The three firms making proposals were DLZ, Elevatus, and RQAW.
The timetable for selection and approval of a company was sketched out by president of the board of county commissioners, Penny Githens, at Monday’s meeting of the community justice response committee (CJRC).
Githens said the commissioners expect to vote on the selection of one of the three firms at their March 22 regular meeting. Whichever company is selected would be invited to give a presentation to the CJRC on April 3, Githens said.
The timetable for handling the responses to the RFQ could be counted as a bit of progress towards the goal of responding to the work of two consultants, released to the county government about 20 months ago. The report described Monroe County’s jail as having “far exceeded its structural and functional life cycle.”
“Try as I may, I cannot come to grips why this low-level position, a sheriff’s office employee, is of any interest at all for the commissioners, other than to fully support it.”
That’s one sentence of a 3,500-word email that Monroe County sheriff Ruben Marté addressed on Monday night to Penny Githens, president of the board of county commissioners.
The other two commissioners are Lee Jones and Julie Thomas. The email was sent to county commissioners and other members of the community justice response committee (CJRC), among others.
When The B Square asked Githens about Marté’s email at a Tuesday noon meeting of the Monroe County Democrats’ Club, she said she had not yet read through it.
The new low-level position will have the job title of “jail technician”—a member of the staff who would be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the jail. The jail technician would also supervise inmates who work to clean the jail.
From left: Lee Jones, Penny Githens, Julie Thomas at the Feb. 20, 2023 CJRC meeting.
Ken Falk at the Feb. 20, 2023 CJRC meeting.
The pink outline is part of the land owned by Monroe County south of Catalent. The image is from the Pictometry module of the county’s online property lookup system.
Jennifer Crossley at the Feb. 20, 2023 CJRC meeting.
Catherine Stafford at the Feb. 20, 2023 CJRC meeting.
Feb. 20, 2023 CJRC meeting.
The headliner on Monday’s agenda for Monroe County’s community justice response committee (CJRC) meeting was Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana.
Falk is the attorney who filed a lawsuit against the county in 2008, which is still subject to a “private” settlement agreement—so-called only because it’s not a court order. The agreement is not confidential.
Falk’s remarks countered the calls that the committee has heard from several angles, including the group Care Not Cages, against the construction of a new jail.
Falk was blunt: “Look, you need a new jail. Everyone knows that.” He continued, “Back in 2008, when I filed the lawsuit, everyone knew that the jail then was grossly overcrowded.” Monroe County’s jail is not grossly overcrowded now, he said, “thanks to the work of the judges and everyone else in the system.”
Falk also noted that the work of two consultants, released to the county government more than 18 months ago, had described Monroe County’s jail as having “far exceeded its structural and functional life cycle.”
On Thursday, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon at the Monroe Convention Center featuring Indiana governor Eric Holcomb.
The main event highlighted Holcomb as he fielded questions from Indiana University president Pamela Whitten, as the two sat in easy chairs in front of an audience of about 450 people.
But for many in attendance, it was the remarks delivered by Cook Group president Pete Yonkman, towards the start of the program, that might have left a more lasting impression. Cook is Bloomington’s second largest employer behind Indiana University.
Yonkman said at the start that he did not have prepared speech to deliver, as he does on most occasions.
But the impromptu remarks that Yonkman did make were organized around one basic theme: Bloomington’s local leaders need to overcome their differences to make progress on important issues.
B Square file photo of Ashley Cranor at the April 4 2022 Democratic Primary forum.
Monroe County health building at Walnut and 7th streets.
When the Monroe County board of health convened its regular meeting last Thursday (Feb. 9), Sarah Reyterband was seated at the table, instead of Ashley Cranor.
Reyterband had been appointed to the board of health, as the replacement for Cranor, just the day before—by the county board of commissioners at their regular Wednesday meeting.
Cranor had apparently indicated to county commissioners she would eventually be relocating to the Pacific Northwest, and thus resigning from the board of health. But Cranor had not yet submitted her resignation.
Cranor told The B Square she had planned to attend Thursday’s board of health meeting. She wanted to convey some concerns about county codes on various health fees, including private sewage disposal systems, and for rental property inspections. Setting those fees is a part of the board’s core responsibilities, she said.
Cranor said she had wanted to ask Monroe County health administrator Lori Kelley about the county codes on fees, among other issues, and she wanted her remarks on the public record.
But Cranor said she got a phone call from the county’s legal department on Wednesday afternoon—after the commissioners appointed Reyterband as Cranor’s replacement—telling her she was no longer on the board.
Room 404 at the Indiana state house, where the recount commission met on Dec. 20, 2022.
From left: Left to right: Bradley King, co-counsel for the recount commission; Republican Party appointee Mark Wynn; secretary of state Holli Sullivan; Democratic Party appointee Michael Claytor; and Mathew Kochevar, co-counsel for the recount commission.
Recount commission co-counsel Matthew Kochevar.
Democratic Party appointee to the recount commission Michael Claytor holds aloft a ballot for review.
Monroe County Democratic Party chair David Henry.
Samantha Dewester, legal counsel for Dave Hall
Secretary of state Holli Sullivan.
Monroe County Democratic Party chair David Henry (standing) with Penny Githens.
Indiana state police first sergeant Brad Stille shows there’s nothing left in the ballot envelope that he just sliced open.
Indiana state police first sergeant Brad Stille hands over the ballot envelopes to general counsel for the state board of accounts, Kendra Leatherman.
Around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Indiana’s recount commission confirmed Republican Dave Hall as the winner of the election for District 62 state house over Democrat Penny Githens.
Monroe County Democratic Party chair David Henry points to candidate Penny Githens’s computer screen as they review challenged ballots from Jackson and Brown counties.
Deputy recount director Andrew Norris. (Election Central Monroe County Dec. 13, 2022)
(Election Central Monroe County Dec. 13, 2022)
The slogan on the mug reads: “I am an auditor. To save time let’s just assume I’m always right.” (Election Central Monroe County Dec. 13, 2022)
Arriving around 3 p.m. on Tuesday at Monroe County’s Election Central, was the team from Indiana’s state board of accounts (SBOA) that is conducting the manual recounting of ballots in Indiana’s District 62 state house race.
The recounting of Monroe County’s ballots got a good start on Tuesday, but will last at least another day.
Recounting activity on Tuesday lasted until around 6 p.m. The work of reviewing each paper ballot with human hands and eyeballs will continue on Wednesday morning in Monroe County starting around 8 a.m.
Seated is Monroe County deputy clerk Tressia Martin. Others shown in this photgraph are state board of accounts (SBOA) staff. Monroe County Election Central (Dec. 9, 2022)
At 8 a.m. on Friday, a dozen staff from Indiana’s state board of accounts (SBOA) and some state police officers arrived at Monroe County’s Election Central at 7th and Madison streets in downtown Bloomington.
The SBOA staff’s job for the day was to sort the ballots from the Nov. 8 election into piles—one pile for each of the 29 Monroe County precincts that is a part of state house District 62.
The sorting comes in preparation for the recounting of ballots in the race, which was won by Republican Dave Hall, who had a certified tally of 12,990 votes. That was 40 more than Democrat Penny Githens received. The request for the recount was filed by Monroe County Party chair David Henry.
In Monroe County, the recounting itself is now expected to start around noon on Wednesday (Dec. 14) next week. That will come whenever the recounting is complete in Jackson and Brown counties—which are the other two counties with some precincts included in District 62.