The Hot Beat


The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him:

Quarrel over jail spills into mall corridor

A quarrel over the jail surfaced Wednesday between the Linn County supervisors and Sheriff Don Zeller.

Zeller and Col. Karl Kolz showed up at the supervisors’ formal session Wednesday at Westdale Mall and sat at the table.

Toward the end of the session, Kolz asked the supervisors to affirm their commitment to quickly rebuild the county jail on May’s Island.

Supervisors Lu Barron and Jim Houser were in the room, as was county Strategic and Legislative Services Director Mike Goldberg.

Kolz wanted to know when work will begin on the building. Zeller sat next to him and was silent. The subtext was Thursday’s meeting to discuss the possibility of a joint Johnson/Linn County Jail, an idea Zeller vehemently opposes.

Kolz: I guess I don’t know why we wouldn’t occupy the building per se, but if we are, the sooner the better.

Mike Goldberg: It’s moving forward… It just can’t be brought on line as fast as the courthouse.

Goldberg didn’t have information at hand to give a timeline.

Barron: We’ve kind of been in transition here with some job descriptions changed.

Kolz raised the point that area jail officials who are housing Linn County inmates would like to know when the Linn County Jail might be restored.

Kolz: We’re not able to tell them anything at this point.

Houser: As soon as we know anything, we’ll keep you informed.

Kolz: That would be handy.

After the meeting, Zeller and Barron stood in the mall corridor for several minutes, engaged in animated conversation.

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