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Controversy over votes for new jail administrator

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

It's a toss-up between two men wanting the jail administrator job at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, but the jail board is stirring up controversy with its votes.

Some members are saying the board's actions are illegal.

It all started when the current jail administrator announced his retirement opening up the job to qualified candidates, but the jail board has hit a roadblock.

"I've been here almost four months now because they can't come to a concurrence as to who they want to run the jail," said Randy Madan, current Jail Administrator.

The board voted in June to select Randy Bowen as the new administrator, but things got complicated during a special called meeting when Bowen was supposed to sign his contract.

Some board members decided they wanted a new vote.

"They brought up some new items to go on the agenda which was an illegal act," said board member Jim Kelly.

But they allegedly did it anyway after the meeting adjourned and some members left.

This new vote was in favor of Pete Fitzpatrick, but some members say the questionable vote is not the only reason Fitzpatrick should not be allowed to run the jail.

"He did not meet the experience requirements, much as some of those who were dismissed who applied and their application didn't go any further," said Kelly.

The board's original requirements said that each candidate must have at least 10 years of law enforcement experience which they say Fitzpatrick did not have.

"The bottom line is now we have a board that is split, that cannot come together," said Madan.

It is a split board that is questioning what is even legal.

"If you just follow the law, and the bylaws, and merely observe parliamentary procedure, then you already have your answer," said Kelly.

But for now the board is stuck, and so is the Randy Madan who says he just wants to retire and leave the jail in good hands.

We were not able to reach Fitzpatrick for a comment.

The board's next regularly scheduled meeting will be the third week in August.

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