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County jail saga enters new chapter

July 18, 2019 07:09 pm

When it comes to grand theater, nobody holds a candle to Greene County government. The saga of the new Greene County Jail had more twists than a thriller. Now the subplots occupy center stage. You can’t buy entertainment like this.

A jail study will soon be underway, but it won’t be for the jail under construction in Coxsackie.

Instead, the old Greene County Jail will be evaluated by the engineering firm Barton & Loguidice to learn how much it will cost to bring the building up to code, county officials said Wednesday.

Shadows surrounding the legality of an auction at the former sheriff’s office last month lingered Wednesday as photographs of items tagged for sale surfaced in a website comment. As it turns out, items not specified in the email to Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden on March 28 are featured in the advertisement on Auction International. The twist: The auction began on March 27.

These details have become a source of increasing concern because they perpetuate the image of a county government that is out of sync, out of touch and uncertain of who knows what and how do they know it.

Appropriately enough, this epic story, like the “Harry Potter” tales, has its muggles.

The old jail, at 80 Bridge St., in Catskill, is a lost cause, Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said Wednesday. “It is a 100-year-old building,” he said. “We feel there is no salvation.”

Yes, it would take hundreds of thousands of dollars to make something of the old jail and it would probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to take down and dispose of the building. But there are people out there, namely Cassidy Bua, Meg Nowack and Wayne Sheridan, who have ideas about the former jail that are worth listening to. Wouldn’t it be something if Barton & Loguidice found the old jail is worth saving?

The Greene County Legislature should stand firm on this study, meaning let Barton & Loguidice do its job without interference or undue influence.

Listening is a potent plot element in this story, an element absent when it came to protecting present and future taxpayers from withering debt.

The assessments by Delaware and Katerskill were bogus. Delaware didn’t take measurements or photos, so Katerskill couldn’t determine if anything had changed. Greg Seeley and Michael Spitz intentionally failed to do maintenance, and we’re identified by SCOC as a “Worst Offender.”

The 80 Bridge Street facility wasn’t closed because of architecture but horrific behavior of the management, including Groden. Groden was sued for exactly the same thing in Michigan - in his professional AND personal capacity! County Administrator Shaun Groden sued in Michigan for same errors.

This group spent over $7 million before a shovel of dirt was turned! And, none on a shared/regional jail study, and budget none for alternatives to incarceration! We’re below 25 detainees now, and less when all of the justice reforms kick in.

Repairing 80 Bridge Street is of course possible, and then place the Sheriff’s office back in there. The dozen holding cells are enough. There are 691 empty cells in the adjoining counties.

Wake up Greene County. Wake up before it’s too late.

see Delaware report and my response: