Interim Super Named

Published 5:38 pm Thursday, July 25, 2013

PRINCE EDWARD — The Piedmont Regional Jail board is on the hunt for a new superintendent. In the mean time, a Hunter is taking the helm.

The board unanimously appointed former Assistant Superintendent Donald L. Hunter as the interim superintendent during their regular meeting on Wednesday, July 24.

Superintendent Ernest Toney announced his retirement in May. He had been superintendent for just shy of five years. His last day will be July 31.

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“In my opinion, somebody’s got to be in charge,” said Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett, adding later, “it doesn’t matter to me who it is. But, just in your operations, somebody’s got to make some decisions.”

Cumberland Supervisor Parker Wheeler’s motion that the assistant superintendent be made the interim superintendent passed unanimously.

The board had also unanimously authorized Hunter to sign checks earlier in the meeting.

“You’re moving on up the ladder,” Chairman James Garnett said to Hunter. “We’ve promoted you twice today.”

“Well, you know what, it’s a lot of work to be done and… it’s not a problem. I mean, it’s a great board to work with. I have good staff members that are going to move forward with this and will continue to push on,” Hunter said following the vote.

Hunter has worked at the jail since it opened in 1988. He has been assistant superintendent for over six years. He has also been a member of Farmville Town Council for nine years.

The board’s advertisement for the superintendent’s position has brought in seven applications so far, according to Cumberland County Attorney and Administrator Vivian Giles, who was listed to receive the job applications.

Hunter informed The Herald that his own application is among them.

The board briefly discussed the job description for the superintendent position. Amelia County Administrator A. Taylor Harvie, III is a member of a committee charged to begin the search and advertise for the superintendent position. He reported that the search committee had fine-tuned a job description based on the feedback they had received. He felt the job description had to be finalized before the board could begin vetting applications.

According to Harvie, the jail does not currently have a formal job description for the position of superintendent. Previous superintendents worked according to “post orders” and employment contracts, which outlined what the job entailed. The job description will now allow the jail board to outline professional standards and continuing education expectations as well, according to Harvie.

The majority of input he had received was in support of a job description currently used by the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. They had added one statement from the Western Tidewater Regional Jail that addresses professional certification, he told the board.

The board discussed the addition of the statement, asking the applicant to be or become a certified jail manager as given by the American Jail Association within 18 months of assuming the position.

The certification is intended to provide “documented evidence to the public that the individual has been examined by an independent professional organization and found to possess current competency in his/her field,” according to the American Jail Association.

An applicant for the certification must have been a manager at a jail for at least one year. He or she submits a written application, documenting professional and educational background and leadership experience. If deemed eligible by the Jail Manager Certification Commission, the candidate must take and pass an exam. The exam fee is currently $370.

The board briefly discussed whether it should require the certification, how long it would take to obtain it and how many Virginia jail superintendents currently have it.

Ultimately, Garnett proposed the board wait until next month to receive the final job description recommendation from the committee.