McAninch: High turnover in leadership has damaged Alachua County Court Services

Letter to the editor

Will we ever know why the Court Services Director resigned? I don’t think he will be missed at the department. He was only here for a short time, less than two years.

It seems like a lot of money and time is spent on trying to find the “right” person to lead Court Services. He was the latest in several failed attempts to find a director. We have other Court Services departments in Florida–it would be nice to possibly recruit a director from one of those agencies. All that was reported was that he believed the County Manager had lost faith in him.

Well, I’ve got news for him: the department had lost faith in him, especially when he shut down the Work Release Center. That came as a big surprise–he announced it at our Christmas get-together. All of a sudden 18 officers were facing unemployment after he had assured them throughout the year it was not shutting down.

He spoke about opening a re-entry center; it didn’t really make sense to me when he told me that the re-entry people would be residing at their homes on GPS monitors. This makes no sense at all, since the biggest problem is finding a place to reside once an individual is released from being incarcerated. If they already have a place to reside, they probably don’t want the burden of being on a GPS monitor as part of the re-entry program.

Court Services offers many alternative services to the population they serve. And it can once again become the leader and model department that other departments acknowledge. But after approximately eight years of “Temporary Directors,” it is hard to imagine that the next director will be any different. I hope I am wrong and the next director comes here ready to listen to staff and supervisors. The County deserves a department that is here to serve the community. 

Steven L. McAninch, former Court Services employee

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to info@alachuachronicle.com and are published at the discretion of the editor.

  • Can the writer report on the fluctuating population of the Jail and other countywide incarceration facilities over the last 20 years (or since the last Jail building expansion)? I think it’d show the pop. declining as local lawyers and judges began meddling in arrests and release rates, due to politics and law skool loan burdens. Theory says it increased crime rates too.

  • Work release was something that worked….they were allowed to go to work & then report back by a certain time. We want to encourage people to work & be productive. Good letter!

  • court services people are wasting tax payers money. They supposedly work from home and do nothing. staff that get paid for and have no work to do. They are barely in the office and it isn’t a pandemic anymore. Some don’t even have work computers, such as the lady who does drug tests for the department. They make a bunch of noise in the front office and talk about clients which is inappropriate. Shut them down

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