In the wake of a rare proposal to have a sheriff's department oversee thousands of state parolees, a job that would normally go to local probation officials, union boards representing 95 percent of L.A. probation employees today announced a vote of “no confidence” in their Chief, Donald Blevins.

The organizations include: the Los Angeles County Probation Officers Union, AFSCME Local 685; the Supervising Deputy Probation Officers Union, SEIU Local 721; and the Probation Managers Association, AFSCME Local 1967, according to a statement.

This after …

… Blevins was out of town earlier this month, at the Chief Probation Officers of California's quarterly meeting in San Diego, as the County Board of Supervisors considered pressure to give responsibility for overseeing state parolees to Sheriff Lee Baca.

The unions held an 11:30 a.m. press conference today to announce the “no confidence” stance.

According to the unions' statement:

The Los Angeles County Probation Department's juvenile division is in turmoil and the Chief Probation Officer has until October 2011 to resolve outstanding issues or risk having the Department taken into receivership by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

This threat has not been without warning. Not only has DOJ long since advised the County of what needs to be done to comply, but Probation Department employees, through their respective unions, have been raising many of these same issues for decades – even filing lawsuits against the County of Los Angeles to demand remedy.

With the risk of DOJ action against the juvenile division, coupled with the reality that under AB 109, Public Safety Realignment, as many as 15,000 parolees will soon be the responsibility of the Probation Department's Adult Field Services division, the time for fixing the Department is past due.

A letter delivered to Blevins this morning calls the proposal to have the sheriff' handle state parolees “an insult to the people who work for you and the communities we serve.”


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