Board of union representing Fayette Co. jail workers issues vote of no-confidence for jail leadership

There’s been a vote of no confidence for the director of the Fayette County Detention Center, and also for the public safety commissioner.
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 3:40 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - There’s been a vote of no confidence for the director of the Fayette County Detention Center, and also for the public safety commissioner.

That comes from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 83. The FOP president tells us issues have been going on for years.

“We’ve got to do something for our people. We’re going to get down so low on staff we can’t even operate the place,” said Steve Parker, vice president of FOP Lodge #83.

One of Kentucky’s largest Fraternal Order of Police unions, FOP Town Branch Lodge #83, issued a vote of no confidence regarding LFUCG Public Safety Commissioner Kenneth Armstrong and Fayette County Detention Center Director Lisa Farmer.

“If an officer walks into an unmanned unit, and it’s been two or three hours since any officer has done a visual observation in that unit, what are they walking into? What have they planned the last few hours against an officer that comes in?” said Michael Harris, president of FOP Lodge #83.

President Harris and Vice President Parker said they’re around 115 employees short at the jail, saying at times there could be one corrections officer per 300 inmates.

“People have to pick up the slack. Work the extra shifts. It gets into this grind. People’s bodies and minds can’t take that type of punishment. Some people can tolerate it longer than others, but everybody has a breaking point,” Harris said.

The FOP is calling on the city to hold immediate hearings about the “leadership and staffing emergencies.”

While Susan Straub in the mayor’s office did not comment on the votes of no-confidence, Straub did say while there has been discussion of bringing the National Guard in, there are many jails and prisons in worse shape than our facility. And Lexington would be very low on the list.

Councilmember at Large Richard Moloney said the city is bringing in a consultant this summer, but believes it may be too little too late.

“But to me, we’ve got to make changes. This jail is broke,” Moloney said.

Harris said they’ll give the city time to respond, but they’re prepared to take the issue to court.

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