By Alex Bridges
FRONT ROYAL - The area's next regional jail now has a superintendent, more than a year before the facility opens.
The Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail Authority board voted Thursday at its regular meeting to hire Robert Mulligan to serve as the facility's superintendent. Mulligan begins work on June 1 at a salary of $95,000 plus benefits, according to information provided by the board.
Board members say the chief of the facility needs enough time to hire staff and conduct other planning efforts before the regional jail's anticipated opening of July 2014.
"I'm kind of excited about it," Mulligan said by phone Thursday evening.
Mulligan, 49, who lives in Clarke County, worked as the superintendent of corrections and court services for Loudoun County from 2002 until he retired last year, according to information provided by the authority board. Mulligan has more than 25 years of experience in local correctional systems in Virginia. As chief of the Loudoun County Jail, Mulligan supervised more than 200 employees. Mulligan also served as the project manager overseeing the design and construction of Loudoun County's new jail.
"I thought I was ready to retire and I saw this opportunity and it's right up my alley," Mulligan said.
Mulligan noted his experience with overseeing the opening and expansion of jails. State standards lead to some similarities between facilities in both staffing and construction.
"No two jails are exactly the same," he said.
Mulligan said the facility in Loudoun County that opened about three years ago is similar to the one in Warren County. He added that Shockey Companies also served as the contractor for the Loudoun facility.
"I'm looking forward to getting back with Shockey and finishing up this project for them," Mulligan said.
He commented on the staffing selection that he will soon conduct.
"In the corrections system my experience has also been [that] we all work together," Mulligan said. "We're one, big family and always helping each other out."
Construction of the new regional jail on U.S. 340-522 in Warren County continues within budget and on schedule, owner representative James Marstin told the board Thursday. Marstin updated the board on the project's progress and noted that construction has neared a milestone with half of the facility under roof. Marstin said the challenge now is for construction of the other half of the jail to catch up with the covered section. Parts of the project require that both sections reach a similar level of completion, Marstin explained.
Board Chairman Douglas Stanley, county administrator for Warren County, said the project timeline calls for anticipated completion of the jail by March 2014.
Several months ago, the board agreed to start looking early for a superintendent because that person would need time to plan for the jail's opening.
A subcommittee of the board's transition committee received eight applications. The subcommittee of members representing each of the three participating jurisdictions and other board officials chose five of the applicants and interviewed them on April 15.
John McCarthy, county administrator for Rappahannock County, said Mulligan's salary is comparable to the pay given to the superintendent of the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center that serves Winchester and the counties of Clarke, Fauquier and Frederick. Mulligan's salary also includes a $300-a-month vehicle allowance rather than the authority providing a vehicle.
The jail project budget includes money to cover the superintendent's salary. When the new regional jail opens, the Virginia Compensation Board will provide a large portion of the superintendent's salary at the state agency's rate, McCarthy explained.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org