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New Mexico: MTC top managers fired.
Top Managers Fired Over Unsanitary Jail
By WENDY BROWN | The New Mexican
March 26, 2003

The company that manages the Santa Fe County jail removed the warden and his second in command this week because of complaints about unsanitary conditions.

County commissioners, meanwhile, said Tuesday that they are seriously considering taking over direct management of the 670-bed jail south of Santa Fe.

Jail monitor Greg Parrish said the county wrote to Management and Training Corp. officials in February about inmates' complaints that they were denied basic needs such as toilet paper, clothing and medical care.

Female inmates complained they were given only one uniform. When it was dirty, they either had to wash it themselves or wait until they were given another uniform, the letter says.

When Parrish asked jail officials about the problem, they said there weren't enough clothes to go around, the county states in a letter to the management company. Parrish then asked jail officials to order more clothing, which they did.

Jail officials threatened to lock down female inmates when they complained, the letter states.

"These concerns did not just occur overnight," County Attorney Steven Kopelman wrote in the letter. "Rather, the problem evidences a deterioration of services over a period of time."

The company removed Cody Graham, who had been warden since MTC took over the jail contract from Cornell Companies Inc. in October 2001, and Major Greg Lee, who was second in command at the facility.

The company replaced Graham with Al Murphy, MTC vice president in charge of corrections, as interim warden. The company replaced Lee with Jay Bodman, a jail major.

Parrish said the company hopes to name permanent replacements in about a month.

MTC spokesman Carl Stuart said the company has placed Graham and Lee on paid administrative leave, and they will not return to the Santa Fe jail.

Stuart said the company has not decided what Graham or Lee's future will be with MTC.

Graham came to Santa Fe from Gallup, where he ran the 300-bed McKinley County Adult Detention Center for MTC. He came with about 20 years of corrections experience and had worked for MTC for about two years

Regarding sanitary conditions at the jail, Stuart said MTC takes pride in the quality of conditions at the company's facilities.

In response to recent changes and a report from the county's Corrections Advisory Committee that suggested other changes at the jail, county officials at Tuesday's County Commission meeting talked seriously about taking over management of the jail.

"I think it's something we need to pursue vigorously," County Commissioner Paul Duran said.

County Manager Gerald González said he would research what it would take to manage the jail and make a presentation to the County Commission.

County Finance Director Katherine Miller said there would be financial pros and cons if the county took over jail operations for the first time since the mid-1980s.

Private management companies have to pay a gross-receipts tax and also have corporate overhead, Miller said, and those are expenses the county would not

However, MTC does not provide employees with certain benefits, such as retirement pay, Miller said. Since the county would provide retirement, that would drive up the county's costs.

"There are a lot of pros to both sides," Miller said. "It's a matter of looking at our current ability to run it ourselves."

The county has about 480 employees, Miller said, but if it took over the jail, the county would add 130 employees to the payroll.

Miller said it would take time for county officials to make the decision.

Duran said he thinks the county would get more professional applicants if the county took over operations and provided benefits. Human-rights violations also
would decrease under county management, he said.

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