the local AM talk radio show airs, I sent the host
the below email once off the road. Discussion
centered on the notion that the two Dem
commissioners will make up and the Dunbar
Township, in so many words, jail project could
Will what the radio host and his caller say be
how this plays out?
Is the strained relationships between the two
Dem commissioners, in a nutshell, no more
than a common "rift" typical for two people
working closely together, inevitably, to
experience at some time?
Nobody here thinks so, but we'll certainly see.
Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 3:42 PM
I heard your thoughts on the 3 commissioners
working with the jail ad hoc work group. You said the
group needed to share their reports with the 3
Just one problem with that. Under a Right To Know
request, I obtained those "reports." Of the 450 pages
or so that I received, fewer than 20 pages were actual
reports generated by that large group, subdivided into
Of the 20 pages, there were no reports at all written
from 2 groups (the behavioral health group and the
Some of the 20 pages were letters, for instance, from
the former controller to the Army Reserve, trying to
buy that building and sway the brass from selling it to
Uniontown Hospital. Most were pages that Jim
Killinger wrote, described meetings with contractors
(a professional service that needs bids for
discussion) and were essentially of no real use.
The balance of the 400+ pages were things such as
website copies of construction companies, such as
the Dick Corp from Elizabeth and copies of the state
budget. I kid you not.
The most worthwhile document in the whole bundle
was the program proposal for Genesis House. I am
impressed with the proposal for it.
Otherwise, there really isn't a whole lot of value that
the jail ad hoc committee generated even though the
group first convened in October or November of 2012.
Here's a run down in more detail of what the 450+
pages contained. http://www.julietoye.
Since that time, I obtained both of the geo-technical
land surveys done in recent years on that land. I've
also obtained old survey maps from the 1930s after
the DEP had no records to explain how or when the
drainage to Gist Run was altered.
I don't know any of the commissioners well, but I
believe that there was no decision on Zap's part to
end the jail project in Dunbar Township because of a
rift between him and Ambrosini. I disagree with you
on that much.
I truly believe for the first time since the process
started that Zapotosky actually read the reports,
questioned why Ambrosini told the public for 2.5 mos
he had not received the second report when he had.
Probably, too, from having worked for the late Frank
Mascara, Zap has a better understanding than
Ambrosini does of County Codes, regulations and
law. I'm not knocking the guy, but I really believe he
was not at work much (neither is Ambrosini), hadn't
read anything and believed everything Ambrosini told
him until he started to hear how much it will cost to
stabilize the land, etc. At no public meetings of the
county commissioners and at no public meetings of
the county prison board ever was there any
discussion about including a juvenile detention jail on
the site or needing a second story until it came to the
One comment that Ambrosini made on your show a
few weeks ago is still discussed by people I know.
That he believes we need group homes for many of
our inmates. OK, I agree. Why isn't there active
movement now to get the MH/MR ones out to group
I give Zap more credit than perhaps you do of waking
up, getting his own copies of things, reading, and
realizing that the planning was not done right. He's a
smart man when he puts his mind to it. He knows
other counties that built big jails have lots of empty
thought out enough, either. He toured Franklin
County's newer jail that Crabtree built, but even the
warden there wrote to me and felt that the message
on Ambrosini was lost.
Franklin incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in
overtime driving inmates from their rented cages to
Harrisburg for hearings. It ended 2013 with about 80
Recently when I checked, they had about 40 empty
cells, and were waiting to have about 20 others
transferred to state prisons. All Ambrosini wants to
see there is that Franklin took in about $900K one
year in rentals (but again, deduct what they lost to
pay overtime to keep those rented cages in
transportation to Harrisburg.).
County's jail would be full or near full each day since
it was built.
In that respect of doing due diligence, Zap's smarter
than Ambrosini is. It's more than a rift.
Have a great weekend!
During that AM talk radio
discussion referenced on the
right, it was stated that a third
party, more or less, took no
more active a role in the jail
planning process except to
be a casual bystander.
While the minority
commissioner did not
participate in the county jail
ad hoc committee work group
meetings to avoid Sunshine
Act violations from being
imposed, she did her
She asked more than once
for a 5th public meeting to
discuss options to building an
all-new jail. She also asked
for and received a second
yes vote in 2013, from the
commish chair, that the 3
commissioners would meet
for work sessions, reviewing
what information was given
to them from the county jail
ad hoc committee work group.
It's unfair to make that kind of
blanket statement on a radio
show, given that she drew up
an alternative option last year
to get pre-constructed
buildings placed behind the
current courthouse jail to
The problem would have
been solved at this time if
someone had listened to her.
A few more portable buildings
such as ones state prisons
and other correctional
facilities are using, offer a
quick solution for over
Especially when something
so practical, adding a few
more building cubes as soon
as possible, quickly could
provide desperately needed
space for therapies,
programs, release planning,
vocational training, etc.,
Fayette missed the boat by
ignoring the minority
commissioner's plan and the
low dollar numbers plan that
members of the Referendum
Lets hear them and lets hear
all of Commissioner
Zapotosky's ideas before we
conclude it's best to revisit
the pyrites in Dunbar
|Editor's Note: In paragraph 3
on the right, in the blue
background email, I mentioned
that no work group reports
were included in a RTK answer
seeking county jail ad hoc
work group reports for the
behavioral health and court
Subsequent RTK requests to
learn the number of county
inmates incarcerated with
behavioral health issues,
veterans status, and
non-violent offenders came
back with "We don't know"
Seriously, they didn't know.
These guys are a hoot, no?
How can anyone plan a jail, a
umpteen treatment models and
NOT know the demographics
of the people incarcerated at
the county jail?