Jerry Powers appointed as new probation chief
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The Board of Supervisors approved the appointment of a new chief to run the county’s troubled Probation Department, at a substantially higher salary than his predecessor.
Jerry Powers, currently the head of probation for Stanislaus County in central California, was hired at a salary of $255,000—$28,000 higher than the departing chief, Donald Blevins. The board will also pay up to $25,000 to relocate Powers to Los Angeles.
“I look forward to getting here and getting to work,” said Powers, who is scheduled to start on Dec. 5.
County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka defended the salary for Powers, saying it was justified by Power’s talent and the challenges facing Los Angeles County. Powers currently manages a department of about 250 people; he’ll soon be overseeing a department that has roughly 6,200 employees, overseeing about 80,000 adult and juvenile offenders.
Until Powers starts work, deputy chief Cal Remington will be the acting chief.
In addition to managing the department as it takes responsibility for supervising new parolees under the state prison realignment which took effect Oct. 1, Remington will need to lead the county through a review by the Department of Justice, scheduled for the end of this month.
The department has been working to comply with the terms of a DOJ settlement agreement governing the treatment of youth offenders in the county’s probation camps. If the federal government is not satisfied with the county’s progress, it could move to take control of the camps.
In comments made as he left the department, Blevins was optimistic about the outcome of the review, saying all but two of 41 required reforms had been implemented during his tenure.
The Department of Justice has sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner saying it will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court ruling that blocked new graphic warnings on cigarette packages.
The government had until April 5 to appeal the ruling, which struck down the mandate, saying the requirements were a violation of free speech protections.
Should the United States Congress fail to enact legislation that will trim the national budget by Friday, $85 billion in automatic spending cuts will go into effect.
Known as sequestration, these cuts are, according to the Congressional Research Service, largely across-the-board spending reductions that will impact most programs within the federal budget.
However, it is important to note that there is no current federal budget. Instead, the country’s fiscal house is running on a continuing resolution that funds programs at the previous budget’s rate.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will take the oath of office for a second supervisorial term at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, while simultaneously making history as the first African American chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The Board of Supervisors pledged this week to seek to expand programs designed to keep foster youth from ending up in the county’s probation system.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department had hoped to get approval for a $1.22 increase in the annual tax that homeowners pay for fire services, but the Board of Supervisors demanded more information about the department’s fiscal woes before taking any action.
Supervisor Don Knabe grilled fire Chief Daryl Osby, expressing concern about the department’s operating deficit for the coming year.