I must admit I am confused about whether or not the Board of Supervisors has appointed LaDonna Harris as the permanent Chief Probation Officer for the County.
According to a memorandum sent to Probation Department employees on Monday, November 26th by LaDonna Harris’ secretary, the Board of Supervisors (BOS) has appointed Harris as the new permanent Chief Probation Officer (CPO) CPO Appointment_11.26.12.
After receiving a copy of the memo on Monday, I made contact with staff in several BOS offices and they seemed unaware of any appointment, indicating that they had not seen the memo. Today we called county offices inquiring about whether there had been any appointment and subsequent press release. At the time of this posting, we have not received any return calls.
This announcement is of special concern since the Alameda County Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform (ACCCJR) had inquired about the selection process in our August 6, 2012 letter to the Board of Supervisors and had recommended an open national search (that would include internal candidates) to select the new CPO ALACO Realignment Letter to BOS 8.6.12_final. We have yet to receive a response to that letter. Informal conversations with some BOS members indicated that there would be a national search.
The announcement is also surprising since those I have spoken with do not recall seeing a position announcement or any Board agenda item alerting the public to the fact that such a decision was under consideration. In the previous recruitment of a CPO, there was ample opportunity for public input including an opportunity to meet with candidates for the position.
This action, on the part of the Board, if it has occurred, raises a couple of immediate questions including: 1) Does this appointment meet legal requirements and Board policies for appointment of an executive position? 2) What was the reasoning behind making an appointment of the Acting CPO, apparently without public notice and a recruitment process?
As I said in the beginning of this posting, I am confused. Do we have a new CPO or not? If you have any information, please let me and others know through comments. Thanks.