Former Jail Administrators Blasted in Internal Audit

Former Jail Administrators Blasted in Internal Audit (Image 1)

Before he retired on May 31st — even before four inmates died in chatham county jail custody last year — there were other big problems identified at the Chatham County Detention Center.
Former jail administrator Col. Thomas Gilberg was identified as a “main offender” in a scathing management audit of the jail in spring 2014.
The audit, conducted by former metro police Maj. Bob Oliver, started when a Sheriff’s major accused Gilberg of creating a hostile work environment.
Interviewees described Gilberg as having “dictator style of management” who “uses bullying tactics”, “berates anyone who tries to correct him” and “is a lawsuit waiting to happen.”
Resignations in the department went from 39 in 2012 to 60 in 2013.
And the concerns up and down the chain of command said the leadership of previous jail administrator Col. John Wilcher and his then-number-two — Gilberg — had created a culture of employee dissatisfaction, low morale and an unsafe work environment overall where deputies and staff were afraid to speak up out of fear of retaliation.
And what became of the findings of this audit?
Col. Wilcher retired; he’s already announced his candidacy for Sheriff Al St. Lawrence’s job.
Indeed, an interviewee in the audit said he had started campaigning while still on the job.
And Gilberg, the other “main offender”?
He was promoted to jail administrator until his retirement last month.
A follow-up audit last summer reported an “atmosphere of optimism,” but included interviews from deputies who said the mistreatment and micro-managing of personnel continued; that no one was overseeing deputy discipline; and recommendations by a deputy to increase staffing in the mental health unit of the jail went unheeded.
The deputies who reported dangerous conditions in the mental unit saying they were yelled at and belittled by Gilberg.
We asked the sheriff’s office why Col. Wilcher was allowed to retire after such a critical audit instead of being terminated or disciplined, and why Col. Gilberg was promoted.
We’ll let you know if they respond.

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