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BOC Minutes for May 12, 2015

Special Meeting

  1. Call to Order and Roll Call
  2. Old Business
  3. Discussion and Approval of Board of Corrections Meeting Minutes
  4. Director’s Comments with possible discussion on the following
  5. Discussion and Approval of Emergency Acquisition in Accordance with Title 61
  6. Discussion and Confirmation/Approval of Appointment
  7. Discussion of Performance Expectations for Members of the Board of Corrections 
  8. Discussion and Approval of Board Policies
  9. Adjournment

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1. Call to Order and Roll Call - Kevin Gross, Chair

Chair Gross called the regular meeting of the Oklahoma Board of Corrections (BOC) to order at 11:03 a.m. on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The final agenda was posted at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 8, 2015, at the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC), which is at least twenty-four hours prior to the commencement of the meeting. Chair Gross noted this meeting was in conjunction with the Board of Corrections Orientation for the new members. However, due to the cancellation of the BOC Meeting on May 7, a few items from that agenda were included on this date’s agenda.

Chair Gross asked the clerk to call the roll:

Kevin Gross, Chair - Present
Irma Newburn, Member - Present
Gene Haynes, Member - Absent
Michael Roach, Vice Chair - Present
Frazier Henke, Secretary - Absent
Matt Tilly, Member - Present
Todd Holder, Member - Present

Calling of the roll reflected a quorum was present. (back to top)

2. Old Business - Kevin Gross, Chair

There was no old business to discuss. (back to top)

3. Discussion and Approval of Board of Corrections Meeting Minutes - Kevin Gross, Chair

  • Regular Meeting on April 9, 2015

Chair Gross stated the minutes from the regular meeting on April 9, 2015, were provided to the BOC for review prior to the meeting this date. He requested a motion to approve the minutes as presented to the Board.

Motion: Mr. Roach made a motion to approve the minutes and Ms. Newburn seconded the motion. The results of the roll call were: Mr. Gross – yes; Mr. Holder – yes; Ms. Newburn – yes; Mr. Roach – yes; Mr. Tilly – yes.

The minutes were approved by majority vote and there was no further discussion. (back to top)

4. Director’s Comments with possible discussion on the following - Robert Patton, Director

  • Budget

Director Patton stated he wanted to give the BOC an update on the budget as it was the most driving factor for the agency at this time. He noted that he and his staff had been in several high-level meetings/discussions regarding the budget for the ODOC in the next fiscal year. The message being delivered to each of the legislative groups has been the same. Director Patton stated when he arrived in February 2014, the ODOC had a $23 million budget shortfall. Through the hard work of his executive team and the BOC, the shortfall was reduced to $13 million. The agency requested a supplemental to cover the $13 million and it was provided. At the time, it was believed by the ODOC executive team that the $13 million would be annualized. This amount was not annualized and several cuts were made across the agency to finish the year without requesting additional funding.

Director Patton stated he has expressed to the Legislature his understanding of the $600 million budget shortfall occurring statewide, but ODOC is asking for their approval to annualize the $13 million in the years to come. According to Director Patton, there have been positive responses from legislators in the Budget Hearings. He stated he believes they understand the agency is struggling financially and they appear committed to assisting the ODOC financially. He stated he hopes to hear news of the budget approval later this week.

No further comments were made. (back to top)

5. Discussion and Approval of Emergency Acquisition in Accordance with Title 61 - Robert Patton, Director

  • Purchase of Chiller (Large Air Conditioning Unit)
    Lexington Assessment and Reception Center

Director Patton requested Ms. Tina Hicks provide the explanation for the emergency acquisition. Ms. Hicks stated a chiller at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center (LARC) is no longer functioning. Facility staff was preparing for the summer season by checking the chiller and they was unable to start it. Technicians were brought in to assess the equipment for repair but advised the entire unit would have to be replaced. The chiller is approximately thirty-nine years old and serves several areas of the facility including the administration building, visiting room, and the intake area.

Ms. Hicks noted the replacement costs falls under Title 61 which deals with construction and maintenance of buildings including their major systems. Due to the time involved with ordering, building, delivery, and installation of the chiller it is necessary to declare an emergency under Title 61. Under the authority of Title 61, the BOC can delegate emergency purchasing authority to the director of Corrections for up to $35,000. However, emergency acquisitions in excess of $35,000 require approval by the BOC. The cost of the chiller will be approximately $197,000 and she asked the BOC for their approval to declare an emergency acquisition.

Motion: Mr. Roach made a motion to approve the emergency acquisition and Ms. Newburn seconded the motion. The results of the roll call were: Mr. Gross – yes; Mr. Holder – yes; Ms. Newburn – yes; Mr. Roach – yes; Mr. Tilly – yes.

The emergency acquisition was approved by majority vote and there was no further discussion. (back to top)

6. Discussion and Confirmation/Approval of Appointment - David Parker, Division Manager, East Institutions

  • Carl Bear, Warden
    Joseph Harp Correctional Center
  • Debbie Aldridge, Warden
    Mabel Bassett Correctional Center

Mr. Parker stated it was pleasure to support the approval of Mr. Carl Bear and Ms. Debbie Aldridge as new wardens. He introduced Mr. Bear to the BOC, providing details of his career with the ODOC which included food service supervisor, probation and parole officer and currently deputy warden at Dick Conner Correctional Center. Mr. Parker asked the BOC to approve and confirm the appointment of Mr. Bear as warden of the Joseph Harp Correctional Center.

Motion: Ms. Newburn made a motion to approve the appointment of Carl Bear and Mr. Roach seconded the motion. The results of the roll call were: Mr. Gross – yes; Mr. Holder – yes; Ms. Newburn – yes; Mr. Roach – yes; Mr. Tilly – yes.

The appointment of Warden Bear was approved by majority vote. Warden Bear thanked the BOC and Director Patton for their approval of his appointment. He stated he looked forward to new challenges, meeting the staff, and increasing his leadership skills to make the agency a better and safer place to work. Chair Gross congratulated him on his new position.

Mr. Parker introduced Ms. Aldridge to the BOC, stating that she initially joined the agency as a volunteer but was quickly recruited to work for ODOC as a typist clerk. Through the years, her career progression has included secretary, procedures officer, unit manager and she is currently a deputy warden at Howard McLeod Correctional Center (HMCC). Mr. Parker noted that a few months after being promoted to deputy warden at HMCC, Warden Bruce Howard became ill and Ms. Aldridge became the acting warden of the facility during Warden Howard’s absence. Mr. Parker requested the BOC approve and confirm the appointment of Ms. Aldridge as warden of the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center (MBCC).

Motion: Ms. Newburn made a motion to approve the appointment of Debbie Aldridge and Mr. Tilly seconded the motion. The results of the roll call were: Mr. Gross – yes; Mr. Holder – yes; Ms. Newburn – yes; Mr. Roach – yes; Mr. Tilly – yes.

The appointment of Warden Aldridge was approved by majority vote. Warden Aldridge thanked the BOC for allowing her to serve the ODOC as warden of MBCC. She stated it was her duty and responsibility to uphold the mission of the agency as well as the policies and procedures. She thanked her husband for supporting her throughout her career. She stated there was nothing more important to her than striving to be an excellent employee for the ODOC and being appointed as warden of MBCC was an honor she could not express.

No further comments were made. (back to top)

7. Discussion of Performance Expectations for Members of the Board of Corrections - Kevin Gross, Chair

  • Board Structure
  • Rules and Responsibilities of the Board

Chair Gross stated the orientation for the new BOC members had previously been scheduled but due to the weather, the agenda for this date had been expanded to include some of the items which were considered as urgent business. He stated he wanted to spend a few minutes talking about the BOC beginning with introductions from each member of their background.

Chair Gross began by introducing himself and providing information on his job and history with the BOC. He stated he had been a BOC member for three years and it had been an interesting experience. During the three years on the BOC, he stated there had been some rapid turnover of members due to term limits, appointments to other agencies by the Governor, and also by one member moving to another country. He noted he was honored to be selected as the BOC Chair and has been delighted with Director Patton since he joined the ODOC over a year ago. He stated he thought the ODOC was in very good shape under the leadership of Director Patton.

Mr. Roach introduced himself and provided information on his job. He stated he was also pleased with the BOC and the administration Director Patton had put into place since his arrival. He stated his entire career has been in law enforcement, but he never knew much about corrections. He noted within two months of being appointed to the BOC, he believed he had made a mistake because of his lack of knowledge about corrections. He stated he believes it is one of the most interesting professions or places in law enforcement but unfortunately very little is known about it outside of the corrections industry. Mr. Roach stated he enjoys his position on the BOC and has a tremendous amount of respect for the employees of ODOC.

Mr. Tilly introduced himself and provided information on his background stating this BOC meeting was his first. He stated that attending orientation made him feel like he was drinking from a fire hose with all of the information that had been provided. He noted he was excited to be a part of the BOC and had heard good things about Director Patton.

Mr. Holder stated this BOC meeting was his second and then provided information on his background. He noted he was excited to learn about the ODOC but admitted the information he had received during the morning’s orientation was very overwhelming. He stated he had a close connection with Bill Johnson Correctional Center but was anxious to become more involved in corrections.

Ms. Newburn provided information on her background, stating she was excited to be a part of the BOC, to see what could be done better, and to learn more about the agency. She admitted there had already been considerable information provided to the new members which is quite different than the perception she had of ODOC.

Director Patton stated he was selected by the BOC and began working with the ODOC in February 2014. He stated he had thirty years in the corrections industry, starting out as correctional officer in Arizona. He noted the last fourteen months had seen several accomplishments and he felt that it had all been because of the support from the BOC. Director Patton stated although there was a large amount of information shared during the morning’s orientation session, it was but the tip of the iceberg. He noted there would be more information during the afternoon session. Chair Gross stated he did not have any prepared comments about the BOC structure or rules and responsibilities of the BOC. He noted the BOC was a public body and subject to the Open Meeting Act. He stated the BOC has a very active committee structure noting that the new members had already been assigned to the committees. Chair Gross stated the committees provide an opportunity to become more involved in corrections and delve more into the details of recommendations put before the BOC for approval. The BOC meets at least ten times a year and while the Legislature is in session, the meetings are held close to Oklahoma City in case a BOC member or Director Patton is needed for questions about a bill. Holding meetings in Oklahoma City also allows legislators to attend the meetings as well. The rest of the meetings are held around the state at the various correctional centers which allow the BOC members an opportunity to see the facilities and meet staff. Chair Gross stated he believes visiting the facilities is the most interesting part of being a member of the BOC.

Chair Gross stated he thinks the biggest challenge the agency faces is the offender population. He queried about the current occupancy rate and Director Patton noted the population as of this date is at 117% capacity in the state prisons. Chair Gross noted there were options to house offenders within private prisons, but to be able to do so requires funding which the agency does not have.

Mr. Roach stated he was amazed at the number of people under ODOC custody or supervision. He noted the current system population is approximately 52,000 offenders with approximately 27,000 of those within institutions. He stated he felt one of the challenging things for him was talking with those that impact those numbers. He admitted as a member of law enforcement he had a tendency to believe that once the offender was in the custody of the ODOC, the case was completed. However, he now realizes that each citizen has a responsibility far beyond the initial arrest and conviction to provide the necessary funding to house, clothe, feed and medically care for the offenders in the custody of ODOC. He stated he knows communicating with people about this subject is difficult and challenging but necessary.

Mr. Roach stated as chair of the Population Committee, he recognizes population is a huge issue which does not necessarily reduce itself on a routine basis. Mr. Roach he is in support of laws for public safety and they are important, but the laws continue to fill the prisons with little relief ever provided. Mr. Roach stated the net growth of 1,200 offenders last year is alarming and he feels addressing the growth is the biggest challenge the BOC and the ODOC face together. Mr. Roach stated he believes the BOC members work very well together as well as with the administration of ODOC. He stated he felt the goal was to continue to manage the offender population which he noted was being accomplished by the current BOC and the ODOC.

There were no further comments. (back to top)

8. Discussion and Approval of Board Policies - Robert Patton, Director

  • P-010200, Operating Procedures and Policies for the
    Oklahoma Board of Corrections

Director Patton stated the Operating Procedures and Policies for the Oklahoma Board of Corrections (P-010200) had many changes for consideration of approval. He noted the majority of the changes were to provide a better flow of information for ease of reading. He stated the only change he wanted to emphasize was in reference to the term of officer positions for the BOC. Director Patton recommended and asked for the approval of the policy as provided this date.

Motion: Mr. Roach made a motion to approve the policy and Mr. Holder seconded the motion. The results of the roll call were: Mr. Gross – yes; Mr. Holder – yes; Ms. Newburn – yes; Mr. Roach – yes; Mr. Tilly – yes.

The policy was approved by majority vote and there was no further discussion. (back to top)

9. Adjournment - Kevin Gross, Chair

There being no further business to come before the Board, Chair Gross requested a motion to adjourn the meeting.

Motion: Ms. Newburn made a motion to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Tilly seconded the motion. The results of the roll call were: Mr. Gross – yes; Mr. Holder – yes; Ms. Newburn – yes; Mr. Roach – yes; Mr. Tilly – yes.

The adjournment was approved by majority vote and the meeting ended at 11:29 a.m. (back to top)

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