In less than five minutes two of Oklahoma County’s three county commissioners voted to transfer more than $34 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to the county jail trust. The board of county commissioners ignored days of protests against the move from local residents and one of their fellow commissioners.
The transfer was requested by the board’s chair Commissioner Kevin Calvey. It authorizes the county’s jail trust to spend relief funds on building upgrades, staff salaries and benefits for the months of the pandemic.
Residents attending the meeting were furious the board approved the transfer without hearing public comment. Many residents wanted the county to use relief funds to help residents who have fallen on hard times during the pandemic.
Some, including the county’s treasurer, have questioned whether the transfer is legal.
Minutes after the vote the board adjourned.
Calvey said, "At this point given outbursts and things of that nature that are going on and to prevent further trauma to our staff and deputies I propose to adjourn this meeting."
Before and after the meeting, Commissioner Carrie Blumert objected to making the transfer without listening to citizens' concerns. It’s unclear whether her vote was recorded. "Are you kidding me?" she said after the meeting was adjourned. "You’re joking!"
Blumert arrived late and a representative stood in for her during the vote but he complained Commissioner Calvey declared the vote had passed before he had a chance to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
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