OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Monday, the Board of Oklahoma County Commissioners appointed former FEMA and ODOC director, Joe Allbaugh, to a vacant spot on the county’s jail trust. The trust also met and elected a new chair following the resignation of former trust chair Tricia Everest.
“There was one member of the jail trust that asked me why the rush, why are you moving into this so quickly,” Commissioner Carrie Blumert, District 1, said.
Blumert is talking about the BOCC vote on Monday morning to fill a vacant spot on the county’s jail trust.
They ultimately voted 2-1 to appoint Joe Allbaugh to the position.
Allbaugh served as director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections from 2016 until he resigned in 2019.
Allbaugh also previously worked as chief of staff for then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush and later served as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Bush was elected president.
Allbaugh replaces former trust member Tricia Everest, who resigned to become Gov. Kevin Stitt’s secretary of public safety.
“My no vote was not against Mr. Allbaugh personally. I’ve never spoken to him, but I did feel like we should have spent some more time looking at candidates, looking at several names, looking at their background,” Blumert said.
“He is the most qualified person that we could possibly get. He’s more qualified than any of us on the trust,” Commissioner Kevin Calvey, District 3, said.
The trust also met on Monday in the afternoon. Allbaugh was present for his first meeting.
“I am anxious to put my shoulder to the wheel. A lot of problems. They didn’t happen overnight. They are not going to go away overnight,” Allbaugh said.
The trust also voted to elect their former vice chair, Jim Couch, as chair of the trust and elected Trustee Ben Brown as vice chair.
“My vision is to continue to make improvements to the Oklahoma county jail and to make it a more humane, professional operation,” Couch said after being elected.