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Prison Board Recommends Next Warden

The Armstrong County Prison Board unanimously recommended the hire of a Butler County deputy warden to fill the Armstrong vacancy in less than two weeks.

by Jonathan Weaver

Armstrong County’s next Jail Warden is tentatively slated to start in just over a week.

Following a personnel executive session at the conclusion of yesterday morning’s monthly Prison Board meeting, Board President (and Sheriff) Bill Rupert made an announcement regarding the pending hire.

“In the executive session, the Prison Board is making the recommendation to hire Phil Shaffer as the new warden, starting February 22,” Sheriff Rupert said.

Currently the Deputy Warden of Security at the Butler County Jail, Phillip M. Shaffer was recommended out of nine regional candidates for the opening created after David Hogue resigned, and was one of two who received a second interview by the board of six county officials.

“With his experience and background as a Deputy Warden and experience with jail administration, it was a unanimous decision to hire him,” Sheriff Rupert said.

Sheriff Rupert directed Interim Warden Matt Roofner to “get him up to speed.”

Roofner, 44, accepted the assignment.

“I will be a team player. I will show (Shaffer) what he needs to be shown in all aspects of the jail,” Roofner said. “I’ll be here to help him any way that I can.

“We’ll make this transition as smooth as possible.”

Commissioners Pat Fabian, Jason Renshaw and George Skamai are members of the Prison Board.

Fabian – also the Prison Board Secretary – and Renshaw said the members were looking for that experience.

“I liked his demeanor, his presence during our interviews. We have a great team here, but I think (Shaffer) brings some things to improve to the jail that I think we need,” Renshaw said. “He has a lot of ideas that we can add to make our jail prosper and run more efficiently and effectively.”

Roofner – who has talked with Shaffer socially and in a professional capacity – said he is “comfortable” if he is reinstated as a Deputy Warden, a position he held since 2006 prior to his interim appointment. Roofner has nearly 25 years of overall jail experience.

He added that the six months as Warden helped him prepare for more situations to help Shaffer make decisions if called upon.

Shaffer could bring with him 28 years of experience to the at-will position.

Divine Redeemer Students Create Mardi Gras Floats

Last Monday and Tuesday, Divine Redeemer 4th, 5th and 6th grades students incorporated Mardi Gras/Lent into a STREAM activity.

Students had “play” money to spend to “buy” materials to create a Mardi Gras float and measure the distance for which it could travel, in addition to collecting data on speed and weight to chart. They used their Science, Math, and Engineering skills to create the float before a contest to see which would go the farthest.

Students also learned about the history of Mardi Gras, made
jambalaya, beans and rice, learned how families clean out their cupboards of animal products and sweets, and made pancakes and crepes to prepare for fasting and abstinence.