Originally created 02/10/02

County is set to name jails' new supervisor



AIKEN - Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian said Saturday that he expected a new jail administrator will be announced Monday.

He said he was in the process of making an offer and working out the exact salary amount. The position has a pay range of $48,845 to $61,841.

Despite having a preferred candidate for the job, Mr. Killian would not release that person's name or the names of the other two top candidates.

He said he wanted to wait until those people had the opportunity to contact their bosses.

"I understand the public's right to know, but I don't want their employers to read it in the newspaper first," Mr. Killian said.

The new jail director will be arriving at a critical time. The new Doris C. Gravat Detention Center on Wire Road, which could open as soon as next month, was created to solve overcrowding problems at the current county jail at Hampton Avenue.

The jail population reached record numbers of more than 300 in January, with some inmates being shuffled to other state and county jails.

"I think we have about 175 to 200 inmates on average," Mr. Killian said. "But we had one particularly successful law enforcement event on this recent weekend that raised the ante pretty fast."

Mr. Killian said the jail doesn't have a specific cutoff number before inmates must be housed elsewhere. Instead, he said, a decision is made looking at a number of factors, including the threat that violent criminals may pose when crammed into cells with others.

He said he expects a bill for the recent inmate transfers, but he couldn't predict how much it would be.

A final checklist of items on the new jail was slated to be completed by Friday, but attempts to reach interim Detention Center Director Lonnie McCarthy by phone for an update were unsuccessful.

Reach Eric Williamson at (803) 648-1395 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.