Hired this week for $10,000 a month to turnaround the escape-plagued Osceola County Jail, Interim Director Kim S. Bogart has not worked before in a jail, according to state records and interviews.
Bogart has never been certified as a corrections officer to work in any jail or prison in the state, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
"He never had a supervisory position in our jail," said sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll.
Bogart serves as executive director of the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission – the same peer-review board that gave the jail a perfect score last year before the worst disciplinary crisis in county history wracked the Corrections Department.
After two escapes in February and March, the County Commission fired former County Manager Michael J. Freilinger on April. Days earlier, former Corrections Chief Greg Futch resigned. The fall-out included the firing of 16 officers, resignations of two more and 12 who received suspensions or reprimands over the escape of a gang leader who remains at large.
On Thursday, Acting County Manager Don Fisher said he was aware that Bogart lacked day-to-day experience running a jail but believed his knowledge qualified him to overhaul the jail's policies and procedures in the next three months.
"Being the fact that he is the executive director of the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission, that makes him the top policy and procedures guy in the state," Fisher said. "It is hard to get someone that qualified to take a job like this for just three months."
Questions about possible staff skepticism at Bogart's lack of hands-on experience, Fisher said "As a captain in Pasco County he had at least 100 officers under him so we felt he understood what it takes to manage personnel and to manage guards."
Fisher and County Commissioner John Quinones said they relied heavily on the advice of Sheriff Bob Hansell to hire Bogart as interim director. County Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins, an outspoken critic of jail operations in the past, could not be reached for comment.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Twis Lizasuain said Bogart was recommended for his knowledge of policies and Florida's Model Jail Standards. Hansell "felt he would be an asset to help evaluate the jail's strengths and weaknesses."
The jail recently underwent a security review by the state Department of Corrections at the request of the County Commission. Another team from the National Institute of Corrections is expected by month's end.
Bogart could not be reached Thursday afternoon, despite a request made through the county Public Information Office.
Earlier in the day, Bogart held a brief press conference at the jail on Simpson Road. He said he intended to improve security by focusing on hiring, training and adhering to policies and procedures.
The county is spending $4 million to correct design flaws at the jail dating back two decades. Asked how the FCAC 2009 review missed conditions leading up to the escapes, Bogart said, "What it can't measure accurately is the performance" of the staff.
Under contract as interim director for three months with a possible three-month extension, Bogart said he intends to remain as FCAC's executive director. The peer-review board does inspections of 34 county jails to monitor their adherence to 230 mandatory standards for jail operations.
"I need to make this very clear — I'm an interim chief," he said. "I'm not here permanently."
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