Superintendent Of Jail Retiring

Published 4:28 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2013

CUMBERLAND – Piedmont Regional Jail Superintendent Ernest Toney is retiring.

During the May 22 meeting of the Piedmont Regional Jail Board, Toney announced that he was giving his sixty-day notice and would retire effective August 1.

This is the second time Toney has announced his retirement. He stated that although he had announced his retirement a year ago, the jail was going through a time of transition, particularly in regard to beginning to charge its participating localities.

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“I felt, after talking to the board, it was not a good time to do that,” Toney said, “I feel that, going forward, the jail is in a better condition. At least, it's being stabilized to the point that we know which direction we're going in.”

While explaining his reasons for retiring, Toney sited health concerns and business opportunities he desired to pursue.

“I know it might be a shock, but I've given a lot of thought, I've given a lot of prayer about this… There are things I want to do, that I can't do while giving the jail 150 percent of my concentration,” he told the board.

Despite his attempt to retire last year, the board seemed to be surprised by Toney's announcement.

“I was not prepared for this,” said James Garnett, chairman of the jail board.

Edward W. Pennington, chairman of the Lunenburg Board of Supervisors, thanked Toney, “I know you will be greatly missed. When you have a good man, you hate to see him go. But, we appreciate all that you have done.”

Although he said he was still trying to gather his thoughts, Garnett also thanked Toney “for all the years of service, communicating to us and the board the problems out here. We'll have plenty of time to talk about that.”

Toney will have been the superintendent of Piedmont Regional Jail for almost five years when he leaves in August. He stated during his remarks that he had been working at the jail for 25 years.

Toney served as acting superintendent with Donald Hunter in 2008, before being hired as superintendent in October of that year. Donald Hunter is currently the assistant superintendent of the jail.

Following Toney's announcement, the board quickly moved to practicalities, discussing where the jail should advertise for the position.

It was decided that a committee should be formed to work on the search process. The committee includes representatives from Sheriff departments, the County administrators and other board representatives.

Toney acknowledged that two months would pass quickly, however, “We've got people in place to increase that limit. You don't have to rush to find somebody,” he said, assuring the board that “the place will still continue to run and it will run effectively.”

“We got great staff and you got a good core that can continue. Everything that I was working on, they can continue. Whichever direction the jail goes in, I think we're in good hands… I got people just as dedicated as I am to go out here and find every avenue to…decrease the cost of the jail and increase its revenue. They have the same love for this place that I do,” Toney continued.

Toney said that he had been blessed to work at the jail, “I can't say how much I appreciate it. Because, to get this position is not anything to sneeze at. It's not to take lightly. It is something to honor. And I tried to always do the right best thing.”

Toney assured the board that the decision to retire was not made hastily, either now or last year. “The reason I stayed was because I love this place. But, if I stay, it wouldn't be for me. It would be for everything else and everybody else. And I really want to do something for me for a change,” Toney said.

“I think the jail is in good condition right now and I know you all may not feel it because you have to pay us money, but I see the future of this jail as good. And, at this point, I can feel better with my decision,” Toney told the board.