The regional jail board agreed July 18 to hire Molly Rogers, the Wasco County juvenile director, for a 10-hour a week job overseeing the juvenile facility at the jail.
Rogers has already been serving in that capacity since last November, but with no compensation, after jail administrator Bryan Brandenburg resigned. Overseeing the adult jail is Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey.
When the two took on those overseeing roles, they were not personally compensated.
Wasco County signed an agreement last fall with the jail giving the county $2,382 per month as compensation for the loss of 10 hours per week of Rogers’ time that she devoted to overseeing the juvenile facility. Rogers did not get any of that money herself.
The sheriffs of the four member counties of the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility—Wasco, Sherman, Hood River and Gilliam—have been adamant that jail supervision is a required part of their job duty and they will not take compensation for it.
The juvenile directors for the counties wanted compensation.
The new position Rogers is taking pays $20,394 per year. Rogers said she will work at the regional jail in addition to her full-time job at Wasco County. The money to pay her was already set aside in the regional jail’s current fiscal year, which began July 1.
The jail board is still considering whether it will continue with the new administrative format of having an overseeing sheriff and an overseeing juvenile director instead of a jail administrator.
It will have a work session Oct. 24 from 1-4 p.m. to discuss it.
The job offered to Rogers expires at the end of the fiscal year, or it could end if the position is no longer needed based on the type of organizational structure the jail decides to follow.
Rogers said she agreed to serve an overseeing role of the juvenile facility at the jail because “I think NORCOR is a really cool gem on how governments can collaborate for efficiency and I want to see it succeed.”
The board also spent considerable time discussing a proposed new set of bylaws for the jail board and jail. There was confusion to begin with because the board unintentionally received four sets of them to consider.
They limited themselves to the “purpose” section of the bylaws. Board member Tom McCoy, a Sherman County commissioner, said the current purpose language was “unusually unhelpful” and suggested they throw the whole thing out and start over.
The bylaws and purpose section date to the opening of the jail in 1999.
Board member Kathy Schwartz, a Wasco County commissioner, noted that the purpose statement makes no mention that the building serves as a jail. She wanted that basic purpose noted.
She offered as an example the language from another jail facility, which said its purpose was to ensure a safe, secure, constitutional detention facility in a respectful, professional and fiscally responsible manner.
She also wanted it clear that the jail was set up to primarily serve its four member counties.
Board member Amber DeGrange, juvenile director for Sherman County, in reading the existing purpose section, said, “I don’t even know what ‘to utilize the capacitation of intergovernmental cooperation’ means.”
The group agreed to have staff come up with something to consider at the next jail board meeting.