CORRECTION: In an Aug. 22 story headlined “DeVaney declines jail job,” the Chronicle incorrectly reported that outgoing Jail Administrator Bryan Brandenburg had signed a three-month contract to serve as consultant to a new administrator. No contract had been signed. A proposed contract was presented to the board Aug. 28, but was since no administrator was hired that contract was scrapped and no action taken. Brandenburg announced in June he was leaving to return to Alaska to be closer to family.
The regional jail board unanimously voted Friday to offer John DeVaney, a lieutenant at a large Nevada jail, the position of jail administrator. However, on Monday, he declined the offer.
The jail board will have a special meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at noon at the regional jail to discuss its options, said outgoing Jail Administrator Bryan Brandenburg.
DeVaney, 47, said last Friday he was excited about the offer, and would get back to the regional jail on Monday about timelines. “I have a lot I have to do still down here so I’m not sure I can meet the timeline they need to meet,” he told the Chronicle.
Brandenburg said Monday of DeVaney, “our candidate declined the offer. He decided it wasn’t going to work well for his family.”
DeVaney could not be reached for comment Monday.
He has to go through the process to retire from the Nevada PERS system, he told the Chronicle Friday night, and he was uncertain of the time frame for that to take place.
He said he liked meeting the staff, “I thought they were great,” and he also enjoyed the towns in the area. “I thought everything was beautiful, a whole lot different than the desert, that’s for sure.”
He has worked since 1995 at the corrections division of the Henderson Police Department, working up from corrections officer to sergeant to lieutenant.
The facility holds over 500 inmates and also contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The jail here has been under public pressure for its own contract with ICE. A citizen’s group wants the jail to terminate the contract.
Brandenburg announced in June he was leaving to return to Alaska to be closer to family. He signed a three-month contract to serve as consultant to a new administrator. The contract would begin as soon as his replacement is hired.
For the first month, he will stay at NORCOR to train the new administrator and get them up to speed on the different aspects of the jail.
For the final two months of his consulting contract, he will be available by phone, and will come back if need be.
NORCOR serves a four-county region, and commissioners from each county serve on the jail board. Board Chair Tom McCoy, a Sherman County commissioner, said the board thought DeVaney was “a better fit” for NORCOR than the other finalist, who most recently served as warden of the Montana State Prison.
That candidate was Michael Fletcher. Both finalists were interviewed by the jail board last Thursday.
The jail board had posted the job opening on a well-known job search website, Indeed.com, and got 29 applications. Those were winnowed down to a final five, and then a final three.
One of the final three dropped out, and the remaining two were interviewed.
Fletcher had troubles at his last job. An article was published in a Montana newspaper just a few days before Fletcher’s interview in The Dalles that included state documents obtained by the newspaper through a public records request.
Those documents, including emails and reports from staff at Montana State Prison, showed extensive concerns about Fletcher’s management style and honesty and included allegations of retaliation, excessive drinking, and sexually inappropriate comments.
Fletcher was let go during his one-year probationary period at the prison. He told the newspaper the allegations were “gross, sickening and untrue” and brought forward by people who either didn’t like changes he’d made, or who lost out to him on the warden job, or were bullies.
Brandenburg earlier said Fletcher’s background “was exemplary and the situation that occurred in Montana had to do with the changing of directors during his tenure and the state of Montana has an at-will system for their wardens and the new director chose to not continue his employment, at no fault of his own.”
Asked at the Aug. 16 meeting if Fletcher would be offered the job if DeVaney turned it down, board chair Tom McCoy said he would not. He said the hiring process would be opened back up.