Sheriff not invited to celebration of jail construction

Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall (WSMV)

There's a simmering bit of tension between the Mayor Megan Barry's office and the Davidson Co. Sheriff Daron Hall over a new jail and its name.

And with what happened today, the tension only increased.

It sparked a bit of anger when the man who will be running this jail found out there was supposed to be a ceremony today to celebrate a key moment in construction with the mayor speaking -- a ceremony, he says he wasn't invited to attend.

"It's disappointing -- I had my own staff who heard about it say, 'Hey, we're not even invited. What's the problem?'" Sheriff Hall explained. "I get frustrated about how the Mayor's Office has handled us on these types of issues."

It's the latest dispute between the Mayor's Office and the sheriff over this site -- and it only got worse when the invite was sent out.

Sheriff Hall has long argued the new facility should shed its old name, the Criminal Justice Center, after the renovations are complete.

The reason, he says, is that the people who will be held there will only be charged with crimes, not convicted of them.

Take a look at the invitation:

Even on the invite, it's called the Criminal Justice Center.

"Is that salt in the wound for you?" asked News4 I-Team Chief Investigator Jeremy Finley asked the sheriff.

"Yes, that bothers me," Hall said.

Mayor Barry seems to have a different opinion on Hall's snub.

"The sheriff was not invited today to a ceremony for his own building. Was this an intentional slight by the city?" Finley asked Barry in an interview Thursday.

"We didn't have that today, I know it got postponed," Barry said. "I don't know what the guest list looked like but I fully expect that the sheriff would be included in that."

"Is this an example of bad blood between you and the mayor's office?," Finley asked Sheriff Hall.

"I don't want to believe that," he responded. "There's a lot going on in the Mayor's Office."

The official word from Metro General Sevices is that, for now, they're calling it the "Criminal Justice Center project," but they're not aware of an official naming decision at this point.

A spokeswoman from Metro General Services says the invite was from the construction company, not a city office, and that the mayor was going to speak to thank the workers.

News4 called the construction company today and asked who came up with the guest list for the event. We were told there wasn't anyone there to answer our questions.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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