OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A meeting Monday with the Criminal Justice Authority that many expected to end with a vote deciding Greg William’s fate as the county jail’s CEO ended with no vote at all.
The surprise turn of events came after a hours long meeting that featured public comment from several members of the community, and an executive session with the Jail Trust, and comes after the jail and its CEO have been embroiled in controversy throughout his tenure as Jail Administrator.
In an interview later Monday afternoon, Williams said he was ” open to any comment, any suggestions [and] any help that [The Jail Trust] can get”.
Derrick Scobey, one of the newest Jail Trust members and the only one to call for the vote to fire or retain Williams was not backed in the motion during the session by his counterparts.
The measure was never considered during the meeting before they adjourned; rather, no one else on the board seconded the measure, which would have allowed the committe to move forward with a vote.
“I don’t know exactly what happened [but]I appreciate Pastor Scobey, [who] after only being on the trust for two months, recognizing the issue and the need for someone to be held accountable and some responsibility for what’s occurred in the last two and a half years and the Oklahoma County Jail,” said current District Attorney David Prater.
“His motion did not get a second, obviously, but there was there were a lot of comments. [The meeting] may not not have gone the way that some had wanted to go [but] at least that discussion started,” he added.
“There is zero accountability with the trust because there’s no transparency in the way they handle things [but] the comments that I heard from those trustees that really were initiated by his motion was more than we’ve ever heard publicly,” he continued.
“It appears that my fellow trust members – they feel like he’s doing a superb job and I guess I’m the only one that I see something from a different vantage point,” countered Scobey.
Monday’s meeting follows a community call in October by several community and faith leaders for Williams to either resign or be removed from his position.
In response, the Criminal Justice Authority issued a resolution responding to the requests, while asking the faith leaders to participate in inspections of the Oklahoma County Detention Center (OCDC) and to participate in ongoing study sessions to bring about improvement in the operation of the OCDC.
Jim Couch, chair of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, also known as the Jail Trust, released the following statement following the Trust’s regular meeting:
“Today, the Trust discussed Greg Williams’ performance as CEO of the Oklahoma County Jail. It was a healthy discussion with a wide variety of opinions. It would be inappropriate to share details of the executive session, but my personal opinion is Greg took a hard job under very challenging circumstances, and he has made demonstrable, meaningful improvements in conditions and outcomes at the jail. He understands we must continue to work toward improvements in our infrastructure and our operations, especially around harmful contraband. We continue to strive for a safe and secure facility for our staff, our community and the people in our custody.”Jim Couch, Chair of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority
In another statement Monday evening, Commissioner Carrie Blumert expressed disappointment at the retention of Williams as CEO and Jail Administrator:
I am disappointed with the outcome of today’s meeting resulting in the decision to retain Mr. Williams. With the number of detainee deaths, high staff turnover, his cavalier remarks about Covid-19, and other concerning issues at the jail, his credibility with his employees and the public have been damaged to the point that I question his effectiveness as a leader. Through their continued support of Mr. Williams, a majority of the Trust missed an opportunity to chart a new course in their leadership of the jail. I applaud Pastor Scobey for his effort to bring about positive change in the facility. We will soon be building and operating a new jail. However, the problems at the jail go beyond the facility, staffing issues or more programs. The problems at the jail are one of leadership, and until such time as the Trust exhibits active leadership, the first step of which is holding Mr. Williams accountable, the problems will remain.Commissioner Carrie Blumert
Reached late Monday night, Scobey said he appreciated Prater’s presence at the meeting.
“District Attorney David Prater’s presence in today’s jail trust meeting was just the encouragement I needed today,” added Scobey.
At one point Monday, the recently appointed trustee called out the embattled jail CEO to ask why it took so long to file charges – following a rape that occurred at the jail back in July.
Fellow trustee Adam Luck made a motion to go an annual review of William’s performance at the next meeting for the Jail Trust.
It was passed, meaning the vote could be considered again in December.