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Allegheny County to hire jail liaison in an effort to boost oversight

An-Li Herring
90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board took steps toward hiring a candidate for the liaison position at a meeting on Wednesday. Board members voted to post a job listing and start the hiring process.

The liaison will provide the oversight board with regular assessments of what’s going on at the jail. The board first voted to authorize the position in June 2021 but didn’t officially create the position until last month.

In the year since the position was authorized, board members were in talks with thePennsylvania Prison Society, which independently monitors state prisons and jails, to house the position within their organization, but talks fell apart.

The liaison position will be housed in the county sheriff’s office, but the jail oversight board will supervise the hire.

The Allegheny County Controller’s office will collect resumes for 21 days after the job is posted. Those resumes will be shared with the board’s Incarcerated Individual Welfare Fund subcommittee, which will review and interview candidates before making a recommendation to the board.

The whole process should last 45 days.

Judge Beth Lazzara, who sits on the board, said it’s “an aggressive timeline. I understand that. But it’s fall, so we should have no more excuses for vacations, and we should be able to hopefully get that name to the board within 45 days. That is the hope.”

The subcommittee can ask the board for more time to find candidates if they’re not satisfied with the resumes submitted in the first 21 days.

Julia Zenkevich is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at