Splitting of Panola/Shelby County Probation Dept. equals layoffs and loss of state funding

Board of Judges for 123rd Judicial District Court to vote on Order Wednesday

The Board of Judges for the 123rd Judicial District will meet at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 to vote on an order that will dissolve the current Panola/Shelby Community Supervision and Corrections Department. The purpose of this move is so that separate departments can be created for each respective county. The Board of Judges consists of Judge Charles Dickerson, Judge Terry Bailey, and Judge Charles Mitchell.

The following chart shows budgeting for the two counties:

Total Fiscal Year 2017 Funding (after health insurance set aside) = $92,136 for Panola County, $88,421 for Shelby County.  

 

That is how much each county will be allocated with the split. With no split, the district would be allocated the total of $180,557.00 to be budgeted between the two counties.

 

State allocation accounts for about 1/3 of total funding for the department. The remainder comes from fines and probation payments:

 

Panola

Community Supervision Fees = $145,000.

Payments from program participants = $12,000.

Other revenues account for the total revenue of $256,736.

 

Shelby

Community Supervision Fees = $120,000.                                                      

Payments from program participants = $12,000.

Other revenues account for the total revenue of $228,021.

 

 If the vote passes, some of the results will include layoffs in the probation department for both Panola County and Shelby County, as well as cuts in state grants that now fund approximately 1/3 of the district’s probation departments. 

When asked if there could be a period of time in which the probation department was non-functional, Bradley Wilburn said, “Possibly. There are a lot of unanswered questions as far as how to do the split, how long it will take, and the details of renegotiating existing and new contracts.”

The official posted Notice of Meeting is as follows:

To whom it may concern:

Pursuant to the Texas Open Meetings Act, notice is hereby given that a meeting of the District and Statutory Court Judges who try criminal cases pursuant to Chapter 76 of the Texas Government Code, constituting the Board of Judges, will be held on the 13th day of July, 2016 at 1:30 pm the meeting will be held at the Panola County Courthouse, 110 S. Sycamore Str., Carthage, Texas in the County Commissioner’s Courtroom, District Judge Charles Dickerson presiding.

NOTICE OF MEETING

123RD JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF TEXAS

                                                                                  108 S. Sycamore                                                                                                               San Augustine Str.

                                                                                  Carthage, TX 75633                                                                                                          Center, TX 75935

                                                                                  (903)693-0315                                                                                                                    (936)598-9928

                                                                                                                                                                            Agenda

The following will be presented by the 123rd judicial district judge for approval:

1.            An order of division and separation of the Panola/Shelby county community supervision and corrections department into two separate and autonomous community supervision and corrections departments one for Panola County and one for Shelby County and such others as may be necessary and prudent to effect the separation of the department.

 

Witness the hand of the undersigned clerk on the 10th day of June, 2016 at 9:28 a.m.

                                                                                                _______________________________

                                                                                 Jennifer Fountain, County Clerk

                                                                                 Shelby County, TX

_____________________________________________________________________________________

The district now operates off of 4 budgets: Basic, CCP “Community Corrections Program”, DP “Diversion Program” (Sex Offenders), and Drug Court Program. 

Basic Funding - There are five people working in Panola County and four people working Shelby County that are paid out of the Basic Funding. In Panola County they are: Tony Brown - Panola “Officer,” Penny Lowery- Panola “Office,” Kerian Henderson- Panola “Officer,” Paige Parker - Panola “Transfer Clerk,” and Dollie Lindsey - Panola and Shelby “reconciles bank statements, administers employee insurance and other programs.”

Shelby County people are: Bradley Wilburn - Panola/Shelby “Director,” Laraye Bailey - Shelby “Officer,” John Harrington - Shelby “Officer,” and Lashanna Norris - Shelby “Officer.”

CCP Funding - There are two people working in Panola County and three people working in Shelby County that are paid out of CCP Funding. Panola County’s people are Derrick Holmes - Panola “CSR” and Richard Burnett - both “Contracted Sex Offender Counselor.”

Shelby County has James Moore - Shelby “CSR,” Richard Burnett - Panola and Shelby “Contracted Sex Offender Counselor,” and Holli Barbee - Shelby “Officer.”

DP Funding - There is one person working in both Panola County and Shelby County who is paid out of DP Funding; Panola County: Carla Goodwin - Both “Sex Offender Officer;” Shelby County: Carla Goodwin - Both “Sex Offender Officer.”

Drug Court Grant Funding - There are three people working in Panola County and two people working in Shelby County who are paid out of Drug Court Grant Funding. In Panola County they are: Erica McCollister – Panola and Shelby “Officer,” Richard Burnett - Panola and Shelby “Contracted Counselor,” Kevin Jones- Panola “Investigator”.  Shelby County: Erica McCollister- Panola and Shelby “Officer,” and Richard Burnett - Panola and Shelby “Contracted Counselor.”

Consequences of splitting the two counties --

If the counties split, in Panola County there will only be enough funding in the Basic Funding to fund three positions at current salary rate based on employee seniority. This will leave two positions having to be terminated. If the counties split, there will only be enough funding in the CCP Funding to fund two positions at the current salary rate. If the counties split, it is estimated that neither county will receive the DP Funding since neither county can justify enough sex offenders on probation, since Panola has 12 and Shelby has 16. If the counties split, it is estimated that neither county will receive the Drug Court Grant Funding since neither county can justify enough drug court probationers, as Panola has 13 and Shelby has 14.

If the counties split, Shelby County will be affected by there only being enough funding in the Basic Funding to fund three positions at current salary rate based on employee seniority. This will leave one position having to be terminated.  If the counties split, there will only be enough funding in the CCP Funding to fund two positions at the current salary rate.  This will leave one position having to be terminated.

If the counties split, it is estimated that neither county will receive the DP Funding since neither county can justify enough sex offenders on probation, as Panola has 12 and Shelby has 16.  If the counties split, it is estimated that neither county will receive the Drug Court Grant Funding since neither county can justify enough drug court probationers, since Panola has 13 and Shelby has 14.  Panola County will lose two positions, plus most likely lose the sex offender officer, drug court officer, contracted counselor for drug court, and investigator for drug court. Shelby County will lose two positions, plus most likely lose the sex offender officer, drug court officer, and contracted counselor for drug court.

The Board or Judges will have to meet to appoint a Director for Panola County and appoint a Director for Shelby County.  The director will then have to write a CJP Plan for 2017, make a budget for 2017, and in accordance with Sec.140.004(d) of the Local Government code and CJAD Standards 163.43(a)(1)(f) file within 14 days of the meeting before the Board of Judges, have the Board of Judges approve the CJP and Budget, wait for CJAD to approve the CJP and Budget, and then hire employees.

As of today, vehicles in the inventory of the department include: Tahoe - Panola, Traverse - Panola, GMC Truck - Panola, Tahoe - Shelby, Traverse - Shelby, Explore r- Panola and Shelby “transport,” Tahoe - Panola and Shelby “sex offender,” Tahoe – Panola, and Shelby “Director.”

Contracts that will have to be eliminated and renegotiated include: Richard Burnett- “sex offender counselor,” Corrections Software - “probation database software,” Xerox - “copy machine,” Jeremy Tipton - “community supervision tracking system” CSTS.

Each officer in Panola County has about 120 cases each. If the department splits, each officer will have to absorb the indirect case load, sex offender case load, and the drug court case load, leaving the three available positions having a case load of about 195 each.

Each office in Shelby County has about 115 cases each. If the department splits, each officer will have to absorb the indirect case load, sex offender case load, and the drug court case load, leaving the three available positions having a case load of about 155 each.

The order is as follows:

ORDER

Be it remembered that at an open meeting of the Board of Judges, pursuant to the Texas Open Meetings Act, the following order was made:

The Board of Judges finds that to promote administrative convenience and improve services that the Panola/Shelby Community Supervision and Corrections Department is hereby dissolved pursuant to Chapter 76 of the Texas Government Code, effective the _____  day of ______, 2016, and there is simultaneously created effective on the same day the Community Supervision and Corrections Department for Panola County, Texas and there is created the Community Supervision and Corrections Department for Shelby County, Texas with each of the departments so created to have its own Director, employees and budget to serve their respective jurisdiction under the Board of Judges for each respective county. 

It is further ordered that the County Auditors of Panola County and Shelby County, in order to assure an equalization of the assets of the former department, shall coordinate with the Community Assistance Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to insure an equal partition of assets and budget to be accomplished by August 1, 2016.  All transitions are subject to approval of the Board of Judges in their respective county.

Signed the ____________ day of _________________________, 2016.

 

                                                                                ____________________________________________________

                                                                                Judge Charles Dickerson

                                                                                ____________________________________________________

                                                                                Judge Terry Bailey

                                                                                ____________________________________________________

                                                                                Judge Charles Mitchell

_____________________________________________________________________________________