By Alex Bridges
FRONT ROYAL -- The regional jail board plans to accept Front Royal's offer to treat the facility's wastewater.
The Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail Authority at its meeting Thursday voted unanimously in favor of authorizing board Chairman Douglas Stanley to enter into an agreement with Front Royal. Stanley, county administrator for Warren County, will sign off on the deal on behalf of the authority once the agency's attorney, Bill Hefty, and town officials finalize the agreement.
The agreement ends a months-long dispute over whether the town would offer sewer service to the jail to include rainwater collected by the facility and used in its laundry operations.
The town initially rejected the jail's request that Front Royal take the rainwater in addition to the rest of its wastewater. The authority board then took steps toward building a plant on the jail site that would reduce operating costs.
Speaking after the meeting, Stanley said the board wanted to put the issue behind them and focus on jail construction. Hefty concurred, adding that a jail's function doesn't usually include handling wastewater.
Board member John McCarthy, county administrator for Rappahannock County, expressed support for the agreement.
"I think [the agreement] reached a conclusion that both the the town and the authority can be happy about," McCarthy said.
The board voted unanimously in favor of the motion following a meeting in closed session with Hefty and representatives of the architectural and engineering firms assigned to the project.
The authority board also unanimously adopted an outline of starting salaries for RSW Regional Jail employees. The salaries mimic those paid to some staff of the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center in Frederick County. As part of the action, the board adopted a list of positions staffed by the NRADC but not by the three local jails.
McCarthy explained that the documents would serve as a guide for any future superintendent of the regional jail.
"If we're going to be interviewing a superintendent, we'd like to have a broad brush of salaries to put in front of that person once the authority board goes ahead and hires him," McCarthy said.
McCarthy advised that the salaries assigned for the jail staff likely would change once the authority board hires a superintendent, who then would begin the process of creating positions for the facility.
The board's personnel committee has scheduled April 15 to conduct the first interviews for superintendent candidates.
The transition committee earlier Thursday afternoon endorsed a plan to set the salaries of certain jail employees based roughly on those paid by the NRADC, which serves Winchester and Clarke, Fauquier and Frederick counties.
Authority board members have said the RSW Regional Jail needs to offer salaries competitive with the NRADC.
The board adopted a resolution lauding the service of outgoing member Douglas Walker, county administrator for Shenandoah County. Walker steps down from the Shenandoah County position at the end of the week to take an assistant administrator post in Albemarle County. Stanley noted that the current regional jail project is the third such facility started on Walker's watch. He said that Albemarle County is in the process of beginning its own regional jail project.
Also at the meeting, owner representative James Marstin gave his monthly report on the construction of the facility. His report focused on roof inspections since February and he expressed confidence in the roofing contractor.
"Progress has been excellent," Marstin said, adding that construction appears ahead or at least on schedule. "The jail's taking shape."
Recent snowfall has not hindered construction, according to Marstin. Most of the facility, he said, is now closed in and heated.
Marstin said he expects construction to accelerate this spring.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org