Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bexar probation chief stands by UA methodology that accused innocent people

There's a certain surreal nature to today's effective WOAI-TV story on use of flawed urinalysis tests at the Bexar County adult probation department.

Bexar Probation Director Bill Fitzgerald says his department does not do confirmation analysis when a preliminary drug screen comes up positive because it would be too expensive, but confirmations are free under their contract. The head of the urinalysis lab and Fitzgerald both say they stand by methodology that falsely accused probationers of drug use this spring, but they're changing it in response to criticisms. Meanwhile, the whistleblower who first raised these problems filed a federal lawsuit last Thursday, adding to the bizarre circumstances surrounding the story. Reported WOAI's Brian Collister:
“I don't believe in locking people up for dirty urines," said Bill Fitzgerald, the Chief Probation Officer during an interview in his office with the Trouble Shooters.

He says that he expected a spike in positive test results.

That's because back in February they stopped doing the drug tests themselves and hired a company that does drug testing called Treatment Associates.

They use a small, thin, rectangular-shaped, one-time-use device that is dipped in the urine.

It's called a rapid test.

The manufacturer says it's used as a preliminary test.

If a single line appears in one of the boxes on the face of the device, you are positive for that class of drug, but not necessarily an illegal drug.

"There's one issue there on my part that the test is more sensitive. So I anticipated we would end up with more people showing up positive for urinalysis. This test is more sensitive than the ones we used previously," said Fitzgerald.

In fact, it’s sensitive enough that many prescription, and even some over-the counter, drugs will test positive.

Something as common as cold medicine could land a person back in jail.

And knowing all that, the county is still using this single test to determine someone's future.

Fitzgerald says the probationers have the right to ask for a confirmation test, yet he admits they're not told they have that option.

Brian Collister asked Fitzgerald during the interview, "Why not do confirmations as a standard procedure?" Fitzgerald responded saying, "That is more up to the D.A. and the judges than it is to me." Collister asked, "But why wouldn't you do a confirmation before sending it to them?” Fitzgerald responded saying "We do confirmations but we don't...we don't do them standard." Collister asked, "But why wouldn't you?" Fitzgerald responded, "Well financially...it's um. It would really hit our budget for one thing."

But that's not true.

We requested the contract Bexar County Adult Probation Department has with Treatment Associates before our interview with Fitzgerald but we didn't get it until July 8th, the day we aired the story and a week after our interview. According to the contract, the department can request a confirmation test at no additional charge.

But Fitzgerald said he sees no reason to change his current procedures.

Collister asked Fitzgerald, "Are you comfortable with the way things are set up now where you do not do confirmations as a standard part of your procedure?" Fitzgerald answered without hesitation "Yes."

And the President of Treatment Associates, Jeff Warner, said he's comfortable with it, too.

"The rate in the positive tests I stand by. I stand by our procedures. I stand by the products that have been used in those procedures," said Warner during an interview in the cramped room where they refrigerate all the urine that tested positive over the past few months.

We also noticed in the contract that Treatment Associates is supposed to keep the urine that tested positive for six months in case the department requests a confirmation test.

But Warner is only keeping them for 90 days.

Because of all the problems the county is now moving to a less sensitive test and trying find a better way to handle the cost of confirmations.
I'm not a lawyer, but maybe some of the barristers in the crowd can help me out. If Fitzgerald a) knows the preliminary tests are inaccurate, b) ignores opportunities for free confirmation tests, and c) insists he stands by a methodology that clearly accused innocent people, doesn't that begin to border on willful negligence?

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good questions, Grits!

Anonymous said...

willfull exactly

Anonymous said...

WIKIPEDIA "Beating a Dead Horse" an idiom that means a particular request or line of conversation is already foreclosed, mooted, or otherwise resolved, and any attempt to continue it is futile.

WIKIPEDIA "Repeating the Dead Messenger Story" an idiom that means a particular story and message is already boring and over reported. Any further conversation on the issue is overkill and any attempt to revive interest is futile.

Your first story concerning the testing issues were important and needed to be told. But please GRITS give us something else.

Charlie O said...

Let me make sure I've got this right. They don't want to do confirmations because of the hit to their budget, but they're more than willing to send people back to prison, saddling the taxpayers for their room and board. What a brilliant lot you've got there in Texas. So happy I got the hell out of that sewer hole. I used to live in Fort Worth, now a resident of PA.

Anonymous said...

Does Fitzgerald really believe that ordering confirmation tests is not probation's job? Probation initiates the revocation process by alleging the dirty ua. Even a neophyte PO knows that initial test results have serious validity problems that can only be avoided by GCMS confirmation. A probation department that allows probation violation filings with the court without confirming initial results is not only acting in "bad faith" but also opens itself up to civil rights violation liabilities due to gross negligence. Someone should fire this fool who is "comfortable" with the current procedure.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"already boring and over reported"

You want I should give you your money back? ;)

Anonymous said...

WIKIPEDIA BLOGGER- BET THIS STORY IS IMPORTANT TO THOSE SITTING IN JAIL ON A FALSE URINE TEST! SOUNDS LIKE YOU MAY WANT TO COVER UP THE TRUTH? VERY BAD BLOG COMMENT AND VERY SELF CENTERED!!!

Anonymous said...

wikipedia=Director of Operations Cline, promoted 3 days before posting for position closes! Show it GRITS....

Prediction:
Lawsuits end reign of Fitzgerald and possibly sabotage judges future positions on bench! New Chief fires all management and makes Bexar County safer for all.

Don said...

Scott: The contract no doubt includes a confirmation of a positive result, free of charge. The problem I found working with CSCD's was the "confirmation" was not a GCMS but another immunoassay like ELISA, EMIT, or RIA. These are only screens, and they all have each other's problems. It's like testing one screen with another screen. SAMHSA certified labs require a GCMS confirmation. There comes the rub. These actually are more expensive, costing $60 to $100 or more. The "dipstick" tests that many CSCD's use are about as useful getting at the truth as a coin toss. As you say, they will detect any of hundreds of drugs and even household substances, both legal and illegal. If one immunoassay screen detects it, so will another. Thus the need for the accepted confirmation: Gas Chromotography and Mass Spectometry, or GCMS. I made enemies of many CSO's and a DA who promised to see my ass in jail for constantly calling their attention to this farce. Over 20 years, I worked with or for about 15 probation departments. Of these, I know of one (1) who ordered a GCMS confirmation on all positives. They added it on to the probation fees. If they, including the Bexar people, would tell the truth, it's really more the work than it is the money that bothers them. BTW, yeah, I'm for giving anon8:15 his money back. I'll pay half. This horse isn't half dead yet.

Thomas Hobbes said...

Part of the problem is that the standard for revocation of bond or probation is "a preponderance." While most onsite test devices are intended to be a bit overly sensitive to minimize false negative results, the confirmation rate for any given drug class well exceeds 50%. Both the onsite device manufacturers and competent pretrial and probation departments caution courts about the need for confirmation of a positive result before taking any adverse action, but some departments and courts continue to disregard those warnings.

David Brauss said...

The fools of our 'justice' system are numbered too high and messup's like these will help change the rules in time. Meanwhile, the meek shall be defiled by the ignorant to no end.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of ignorance, Fitzgerald has, at best, a rudimentary understanding of urine testing procedures. He claims that the spike in positive ua's was due to using "a more sensitive test." The spike occured because the instant-result panel is "more inaccurate or more fallible" than what they were using before. A more sensitive test is one that can distinguish between illegal versus legal drug use.

Thomas Hobbes said...

Actually, Anon 4:59, it's just the opposite. Onsite tests simply screen for the presence of drug metabolites (remnants) belonging to one or more categories. Introduction of a more sensitive screening device likely would cause a sudden increase in the number of positive results. Unfortunately, because onsite tests also are referred to as "noninstrumented" tests, the positive reaction may result from a drug metabolite level above or below a standard cutoff, or may result from cross-reaction with a licit substance. For example, use of the antiretroviral drug Sustiva is know to cause false positive drug screen results for THC (GC/MS confirmation can tell the difference).

As for legal vs. illegal drug use, drug screens really can't distinguish between legal and illegal use, or between licit and illicit use of legal drugs. No test can make such a distinction, except to the extent that use of an illegal drug actually can be established.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to all the previous comments. Probation counts on the defendants themselves admitting to their wrong. They know they are guilty of something else. Then there are those that allow others to blow into the Ignition Interlock device. Or ask their brothers to give the sample, which has been done, eithout probation being wiser. I read to today JonBenet's family was exonerated. How many of us were so sure it was the brother?

If it looks like fish, and smells like fish, then it's FISH.

Thomas Hobbes said...

Anon 10:18 - I don't mean to sound mean, but what are you saying? Are we talking about probation officers or clerks? Are they proactive officers or reactive clerks? Are they doing drug screens in an attempt to encourage abstinence and guide supervision plans, or simply to play "gotcha" so they can sharpen their pencils, tell the court, and file the paperwork?

And by the way, if the probation office is doing its job properly, by observing specimen collections, how could a probationer submit his brother's urine without detection?

Anonymous said...

KMOL-TV has a lot more on this lab than they are showing. Like confidential information of probationers being thrown in dumpsters. This lab isn't DPS certified and when the Union president Sheri Simonelli brought up the FALSE POSITIVES, she was fired. Rest assured that there are numerous problems at the Bexar County CSCD (probation) department. Nepotism, special promotions, wrongful terminations, several federal lawsuits pending and a lab that doesn't follow through with the terms of its contract. As of yesterday, probationers were still paying $25 for (FREE ?) confirmations. The lab was to hold positive specimens for 6 months, but has been dumping them after 90 days. (Who's in charge of contract?)
The administation seems to blame the officers for everything that goes wrong. Why do you think that the newer officers are leaving in droves?
It appears that Fitzgerald WILL never admit he has made a mistake and it's painfully obvious he doesn't understand probation in Texas. Why does his department, as he said, prepare paperwork to revoke probation? As I read my law books, by Texas law, its the duty and responsibility of the District Attorney to prepare Motions to Revoke probation. So where has she been in all of this? Doesn't the DA bear some responsibility for ensuring that citizens (probationers) rights are not being violated? And where are the SILENT Judges in all of this? Don't they care about the citizens that they're paid to protect? Only they can rid the community of this disappointment/disgrace, by firing Fitzgerald.

Anonymous said...

Hobbes,We know the jail is full, court's dockets are outrageous, and ADA swamped. Yes there is a small percent of probation officers that "get off" to having defendants arrested, but the majority do follow a plan and abide by condition application. Also, UAs are conductly randomly and at the officer's discretion. Unless the condition stipulates weekly, twice a month, etc. Ms. Simonelli did the right thing when she sent the e-mail. Officers with good judgement had already held back from sending defendants for UAs.

Remember we are discussing a department that does not do things properly. That aside, people will find a way to circumvent UAs. Officers do not collect specimans. So someone's brother could go to TA and give a sample. Especially, if they resemble each other, swap IDs, etc.

A BEXAR COUNTY ADULT PROBATION OFFICER said...

GRITS FOR BREAKFAST:

I have read many times on different subject matters involving the Bexar County Adult Probation department asking you to obtain a copy and to post the Federal Lawsuit: ( Steve D. Lara versus William Bill Fitzgerald.)

You need to obtain a copy of the lawsuit and post it. I have read that lawsuit and cannot believe HOW and WHY this Senior-Line Adult Probation Officer was WRONGFULLY TERMINATED.

This officer had been with the Probation Department 17 plus years. He was ten months shy of being eligible for retirement benefits.

He was WRONGFULLY TERMINATED for doing both his job and for having SEVERAL legitimate medical conditions.

His termination was based on him (allegedly) being INSUBORDINATION to a Back-Up Supervisor (This Supervisor had been promoted ten months earlier) and to JOB ABANDONMENT.

NOTE THE FOLLOWING: No witnesses testified on behalf of that Back-Up Supervisor supporting his claim that Mr Lara was INSUBORDINATE to him.

The JOB ABANDONMENT allegation was Bull-S??? Mr Lara left the Probation department after experiencing severe chest pains and other medical problems. Mr Lara was immediately put on medical disability by his attending physician when he left the Probation department on the morning of Sept 28, 2005. Mr Lara was kept for observation by medical personnal for 3 hours until his heart rate and blood pressure subsided to a normal level. That same day after being released by medical personnel, Mr Lara returned back to the Adult Probation Department and personnally hand delivered Director Fitzgerald a copy of his medical disability.

Earlier in the morning, Mr Lara when to Director Fitzgerald's office to seek his permission to leave work due to a legitimate medical emergency. The reason Mr. Lara went to see Director Fitzgerald personnally was because the other three administrators (Chain-of command-Superviser-Jarvis Anderson, Asst Director-Raymond Jiminez and Deputy Director-Paul K) were no where to be found in the building. When Mr Lara went to Director Fitzgerald office, Fitzgerald refused to see Mr Lara, Mr Lara then told Fitzgerald's secretary to advise Fitzgerald that he was leaving for the day due to medical emergency. Mr Lara then went to his office to gather his personnel belongings which included his personnel blood pressure machine. Prior to signing out for the day, Mr. Lara went into the office of a co-worker who is an Adult Probation Officer and the 2nd officer in charge of the court to advise him he was leaving due to medical emergency. Mr Lara advised his co-worker to notify the Back-Up Supervisor he was leaving work due to his medical emergency.

Initially, Mr Lara was facing a 10 day suspension, but because he appealed it, he was WRONGFULLY FIRED. An In-House hearing was held in which he was DENIED Due Process Rights (At the In-House hearing, both he and his representitive (L.U.L.A.C. NATIONAL PRESIDENT-Rosa Rosales) were denied the following: 1.) The right to record the proceedings, 2.) The right to hear the testimony of all the witnesses the department had called to testify,
3.) The right to cross-examine those witnesses, and lastly, 4.) Mr Lara was denied the right to have the following witnesses, he had earlier requested be present for questioning at the hearing,: (Director-William Bill Fitzgerald and Bexar County Judge(County Court At-Law Judge Karen Crouch).

Mr Lara was treated worst then the probationers that he had been supervising for the past 17 plus years.

All criminals and their attorney's who choose to go to trial to dispute charges filed against them and all probationers and their attorney's who appear in court for a Motion to Revoke probation hearing have the right to call any witnesses pertinent to their case, cross-examine those witnesses, cross-examine witnesses the D.A.'s might call to court and to have the hearing recorded. In, Mr Lara's case, he was DENIED those simple rights quaranteed both by the U.S and Texas Constitution.

I and many other's AGREE and know Mr Lara was WRONGFULLY TERMINAITED because two months after Mr Lara was TERMINATED, he was granted a hearing with the Texas Workforce Commission ( A state entity as equal as any Probation department in the state of Texas).

At the hearing, Mr Lara and his attorney were given all DUE PROCESS rights quaranteed by both the U.S. and TEXAS Constitution. Prior to the hearing, both parties involved submitted numerious amount of evidence. The hearing lasted two days.

Mr Lara was found innocent of the two allegations that the Adult Probation department found him quilty of. The Adult Probation Department was ADMONISHED by the Texas Workforce Commission due to the Probation Department failing to comply with it's own policies and procedures.

The Adult Probation department filed an APPEAL and they lost.

It should ne noted that Mr. Lara had never been disciplined for either INSUBORDINATION and or JOB ABANDONMENT in his 17 plus years with the Adult Probation department.


The pending Federal Lawsuit involves three probation cases.

Two of those cases involve Motions to Revoke (MTR) Probation warrants. The Motion to Revoke probation warrants involve a defendant who failed to submit for a drug test. The second defendant had given a positive result for cocaine. When the second defendant appeared in court for the MTR hearing, the defendant pled TRUE to using cocaine. The defendant that was positive for cocaine was a known drug dealer that both Mr Lara and the Judge had knowledge of. A Back Up supervisor unfamiliar with EITHER case, told Mr Lara that he did not want the Motions to Revoke Probation warrants filed and instead wanted both defendants to be set for a compliance hearing. NOTE: A compliance hearing for that particular court are for defendants who commit minor violations. (i,e-non-payment of fees, non-compliance of community service, etc.).

Mr Lara advised the Back Up Supervisor that the Motions to Revoke Probation warrants needed to go to court A.S.A.P. to be filed because one of the Probation cases was a HIGH PROFILE CASE. Mr Lara advised the Back-Up Superviser that it was the decision of the Ass't District Attorney's, who were assigned to that particular court, as to whether the warrants should be filed or not and for the Judge to sign the MTR'S so the warrants could be active.

After a discussion between the Back-Up Supervisor and Mr Lara had taken placed in which the Back-Up Superviser threatened to write Mr Lara up, Mr Lara became extremely ill and left to seek medical attention A.S.A.P. Mr Lara became extremely upset at the Back-Up Superviser because he wanted Mr Lara to violate both a written court and departmental policy. At the time of when the listed incident took place, a written Court policy was in place which was approved and had been followed by Judge Karen Crouch for years: The policy stated: MTR'S are to filed on all probationers who test POSITIVE for an ILLEGAL drug other than Marihuana. Court records reveal that the MTR in question was signed by an Asst D.A. & Judge Crouch and filed at 1:25 pm on Sept 28, 2005. NOTE: Earlier that morning at 8:20 am, the Back-Up Superviser did not want the MTR's filed. WHY??????????? What happened between 8:30 am and 1:25 pm. Was is discovered that the Back-Up Superviser made a HORRIBLE judgement call? Did someone in Management advise the Back-Up Superviser that he made a terrible mistake and the only way out was to falsely accuse Mr Lara of being INSUBORDINATE to him to save face? I wonder? And what happened to the second MTR? Court records reveal it was never filed.
Court records reveal there are no entries on the court jacket by either the Ass't D.A. and or the Judge that neither one of them wanted an MTR warrant filed or not. Did the Back-Up Superviser make the decision on his own? Since when does the job duties of an Adult Probation Officer in the State of Texas include the duties of an Ass't District Attorney and or County Court at Law Judge?

NOTE THE FOLLOWING: The second defendant that tested BOTH positive and who later admitted to using COCAINE at the MTR hearing was a known drug dealer selling illegal drugs to High School Students. Those High School Students in question were attending a Prominate High School in the NORTHEAST INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT of San Antonio, Texas. The name of the High School is not important at this time. It will become important when it is revealed in Federal Court. The Lawsuit is set for trial in March-2009 in San Antonio, Texas.

There are many current and past Bexar County Adult Probation Officers and several County Court at Law Judges and some District Court Judges who support Mr Lara and who have been waiting patiently for Mr Lara's Lawsuit to come. Now, we all await in anticipation for a hearing. Rumor is, Mr Lara does not want to settle and wants a full-blown hearing for all of TEXAS to attend and witness. We believe this Lawsuit will be the final blow for Director WILLIAM BILL FITZGERALD.

Steve, you have alot of support from your fellow ex-co-workers Give them HELL.

Anonymous said...

Why did Mr. Lara wait so long? He, like so many others straddled the fence and hoped that Ms. Simonelli and her union members would take the action that would rid the department of Fitzgerald. His (Lara) termination even if wrongfull, should have been in the courts way before the Union had to file its Federal Lawsuit, which is still pending in the Western District of Texas Federal Court of Honorable Xavier Rodriguez. Or should I say two federal lawsuits. There ia also a sexual harassment suit pending against Fitzgerald as well.
To sum it up, there are many who whine and do nothing about the wrongs at that department, and then there are those willing to fight for what is right. Not just for themselves, but for those who will follow in their footsteps. I assure you that if every probation officer joined the union we would not be having this discussion! UNITED as ONE

Anonymous said...

7/10/08 @2:10 p.m.
Was this the first time Mr. Lara had been discilplined for poor case management/insubordination/failure to follow direct orders? Just asking since you give such detailed emploment/medical information. I'm wondering if that was a pattern. What happend to the administrators that decided to fire Mr. Lara.

Anonymous said...

Too many problems with the union. I'm a union member but sick of the drama that happens within the union. Some of us cannot financially support our families if we get fired for standing up. Some of us have too much at stake to completely stick out our necks for people that won't back you later. That's why I joined the union. I'm tired of some of you saying that people are fence riders. This is our job, our livelihood, what we went to school for, the way we support our families. There are plenty of us who have seen the wrongs of the dept and that's why we joined the union, back when it was SEIU and now with this one. For some of us, that's the best we can do right now- or I can get fired and my children are on the streets. I have to chose my battles and still make a living.

Not all these "poor" defendants are innocent. Many of them are using all this media attention to their advantage. It makes my job that much more difficult because I'm trying to put out small fires from this. Fortunately in my court, we don't file on one dirty ua- we try to get admissions and make the decision based on the history of that defendant, etc, lots of factors go into my decision making.

And what's this business about confirmations being free? I don't even know how to go about getting a confirmation test. I can't get a straight answer.

I'm also tired of those people trying to say that we want to put these people in jail. Don't you realize, it's more work for me to prepare an MTR and then have to get the file ready for court. The less people I have to send to jail/court, the more I can concentrate on my 120+ caseload on my $30,000/yr job that the public doesn't take seriously. We have no respect out in the community or even in the courthouse. I don't even tell people I'm a probation officer anymore. It's embarrassing. We work for a circus with our Chief as the clown.

I know I'm all over the place with my comment but it's just so frustrating. The department is a joke and I'm wondering if spending my money on the union is even worth it anymore.

Anonymous said...

The guy who fired Lara was fired!
What is the sexual harassment about with this chief! He has done everything else wrong. Sexual Harassment most likely is ok to him. The guy seems to be in the dark most of the time anyway.What a creep!!!!!

GOOD LUCK LARA!!!
Probation Officers should not type Motions to Revoke. That is a conflict!

Anonymous said...

The union is the only shot. No one else advocates for the probation officers and workers. TPA is for the chiefs and higher ups. If we do not lead the way with an officer association there will not be probation officers in the future. If you went to college to be a Probation Officer you got screwed. The only way out of this is if we all stick together. This Union has filed two lawsuits of behalf of its members. I'm sure it has gotten the AG's attetion. Rome was not built in a day and this will not be over for a long time. As one we can all work with each other. If the chief was smart he would let the employees form and advocate for him. Problem is this chief is lacking smarts. Dallas did it and caps way higher than Bexar. Parole is Union. PD is Union. Sheriffs and Firefighters are Union. We just stood by and thought we would be taken care of it did not happen.

Anonymous said...

As an old-timer (retired) with SAPD, you all MUST band together OR you will face the same trials and tribulations over and over. When we began the UNION at SAPD we weren't hugged and coddled like the favorite child either. We fought battle after battle to receive the best salary/benefits package throughout the state. People came to San Antonio from all over the state and nation to get what we fought for. Most of the administration at SAPD know what our UNION did for us and they benefitted from it.
DON'T GIVE UP! Look at what SAPD, SA Fire Department, Bexar County deputies/detention officers and others have because they stuck together and FOUGHT. You can have that IF you stick together!
UNION = POWER
I'm hoping the best for you all, I know several probation officers and they have helped SAPD many times over the years. SAPD could use that help now, but your chief does'nt seem to care.

Anonymous said...

Keep applying the pressure to Fitzgerald and the sorry Bexar Co. judges who allow the situation to deteriorate. They won't be able to fade the heat for much longer. Fitzgerald looked as though he was going to stroke out during the WOAI tv interview. Somebody should do the man a favor and give him a bib and drip cup to catch the slobber off his chin.

Anonymous said...

The union has generated a lot of news coverage lately. The most recent controversy being the urinalysis tests. The past concern was retention interviews for our job.

The union filed a lawsuit and stopped the retention interviews. This was a worthy cause for the union, and it acted responsibily to help it's members and the department. Unfortunately the union leaders could not put aside their anger and as a result the victory was minimized. Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez wrote in his opinion of the case many of the other complaints in the suit were "petty". Judge Xavier Rodriguez also stated "Plaintiffs have failed to establish sufficient evidence of mental anguish beyond hurt feelings, anger, and frustration."

The union leaders have now chosen a battle concerning the urinalysis testing. It is necessary to correct errors in our department. No doubt the union's involvement resulted in favorable changes. But why have union leaders picked a battle that would more appropriately be corrected by defendants, attorneys, and the courts. Union leaders are using much time, effert, and money to win an arguement that will only result in changed urinalysis policies. This same result would have occurred with only the defendant's sueing our department. Union members need to ask what they have to gain and what it is costing.

Why have issues such as salary, safety, and case load size been ignored? These are issues I would back a union on. Many would say union leaders are only defending their right to free speech. I also will defend their right to free speech. But why not a battle for free speech concerning salaries, case load size, or officer safety.

What is the attraction to join a union that is mainly focused on urinalysis testing policy. Winning law suits does not translate into support for union leaders.

I agree with a previous blogger that stated unified support is important. Union leaders have failed to provide the leadership needed for department wide support of the union. Union members have left and the current number of members is less than half of the department.

The current situation in the union is the responsibility of the leaders. A large number of employees will not join and support the union because they do not want to support Sherri Simonelli. She definately has a place in the union but not as president. Members can argue all they want to, but the numbers speak for themselves. Her method of publicly challenging department administration and problems is not popular with non union employees. The union needs leaders that are capable of reaching goals without the in your face attitude.

Leaders of other successful unions in Bexar County have been able to make significant changes without publicly humiliating the organization and it's employees.

Sherri Simonelli has been president for over one year without any significant growth in union membership. The CEO of any private company in a similar failure would be fired.

Anonymous said...

The article is about the lab and not Sherri. The membership votes at each meeting and has always voted together. There you go worrying about one person instead of the mission. There is way more going on than the blogger at 2:49 thinks. 2:49 seems to be lost about real issues. People are scared to join the union and for good reason. Word on the street is there is a list to fire 10 soon. We hear that they are firing some from the first lawsuit. The union needs to advertise it got rid of its slug wanna be leaders. We all know who stood for Unity and then ran when it all was not going their way. Some could not stand silent in the back but stood for past issues with anger and resentment. The pay is allowed by this chief. Do your research, the department that pays more have higher caseloads. The lawsuits are in place not for the removal of this chief but for officers to be unified on the states level. I think if X. Rodriguez could get his eyes on the lawsuit and not his summer interns then it would be obvious.

Anonymous said...

To the 2:49 blogger, it it highly unlikely that you would be able to lead anything or anyone. Also unlikely that you could focus on the bigger issues and not yourself. Maybe that is why you and your boys left the union.

a bexar county adult probation officer said: said...

wkezkacwTo the blogger: 2:29, the untouchables and to all the Bexar County Adult Probation officers whether you are a Union member or not: You have all lost sight of a very important issue. (TO PROTECT ALL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATED OF AMERICA WHETHER THEY RESIDE IN BEXAR COUNTY, TEXAS OR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.) If you look at any policy handbook from any Adult Probation department and CJAD's policy handbook. There is a mission statement which states the following:

THE MISSION OF THE _____?_____COUNTY COMMUNITY SUPERVISION AND CORRECTIONS DEPARTMENT IS TO PROMOTE THE SAFETY OF THE COMMUNITY AT ALL TIMES, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE PROTECTION OF SOCIETY BY REDUCING THE INCIDENCE OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY OF THE CONVICTED OFFENDER.

As a result of a lawsuit which was lost by all the County & District Courts JUDGES in Tarrant County in 2005 a House Bill known as HB 1326 was created.
HB 1326 was ENACTED to protect all County and District Court Judges throughout the State of Texas against further litigation. This bill was not throughly EXAMINED, STUDIED, ANALYZED and lastly, it was not opposed by either a well informed public and OR by any Adult Probation officer in the State of Texas.
HB 1326 was rushed thru all committees: House, Senate and the Governor's PEN faster than SUPERMAN himself catching LOIS LANE falling off the Hemisphere tower.
What was not taken into consideration were the front line soldiers who fight everyday to protect SOCIETY and it's CITIZENS: It's ADULT PROBATION OFFICERS!!!!!!! No one, no State Legislature, no State Senator and or the Governor gave a DAMN about the consequences of HB 1326.
HB 1326 has made it easier for any Probation Department DIRECTOR to fire it's employee's with or without any reason. Before HB 1326, any employee facing any disciplinary action had a RIGHT to appeal a Director's decision. Even if it was a termination. After HB 1326, an employee has no RIGHT to appeal any Director's decision. An employee has no one and no agency to turn to for any kind of help and or assistance. WHY? That's what is wrong with HB 1326.
In this day and time of the Twenty First century, it is sad to see the day's of WORLD WAR II come to the State of Texas. Hitler one of the worst if not the worst of all DICTATORS attempted to spread his evil philosophy and empire across EUROPE and beyond. If it had not been for the UNITY of all AMERICANS and the UNITY of our Allies, we as Americans would not be living in a DEMOCRATIC society as we are today.
In 2004, a handful of District Court Judges here in SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, hired a DICTATOR from the State of Arizona. ADOLF HITLER who from his early days of gaining power to becoming the GERMAN leader and who later was responsible for the extermination of millions of JEWS, had fooled the WORLD.
In contrast, WILLIAM FITZGERALD, soon after being hired, spoke to his employees with promises of bringing positive change and bringing the Bexar County Adult Probation Department to the Twenty First century. He fooled us all like Adolf Hitler fooled the WORLD.
Fitzgerlad has enriched his pockets with TAX payers monies, he has enriched the pockets of his management team, he has enriched the pockets of contracted out agencies. He is solely responsible for the Mismanagement of an Adult Probation Department and for the Wrongful Termination of its employees. Like Hitler, he does not give a DAMN for his employees, their families and for Society and it's Citizen's.
Fitzgerald is being kept as the Director for a reason. A reason which will someday show its ugly face.
We, the Adult Probation Officers must have UNITY with the Bexar County's citizens, Texas citizens, and all Adult Probation Officers throughout the State of Texas to REPEAL and or Modify HB 1326. When UNITY is shown in numbers it will increase the GOOD of man to bring down the EVILS of all the Fitzgeralds of this WORLD.
The Wrongful Terminations of Mr. Lara and Mrs. Simonelli were unfounded. Both of those officers lost their jobs for protecting both SOCIETY and it's CITIZENS. So much for having a MISSION statement when you get fired for doing just that. For all we know, Deputy Chief Mr. Kosierowski may have had enough of HITLER'S AKA: FITZGERALDS crap that he began to fight for the officers and he lost his job for it.
Fitzgerald is a graduate from Kansas State. Did he get a Master's Degree for HITLERISM?

A movement must begin ASAP to attack HB 1326. Before we know it, the up coming 90th Legislature
will come and go before our very eyes.

I ask all readers to read the history of HB 1326 before you make a comment to this post.

Anonymous said...

hb1326 is being used by the Bexar County Judges as a smokescreen. They use it as an excuse not to get involved in the day to day duties of the probation department and therefore they REFUSE to admit they made a mistake in hiring Chief Fitzgerald. I hear throught the courthouse that the numbers are changing and his backers are growing smaller in number.
As to those who say that the Union numbers are falling, they are basically the same which shows that the members who remain are staying strong and united! Unlike the small few who tucked tail and tried to form a partnership with Ex Deputy chief Koserowski. A handhake and hug in the park from Sergio was the kiss of death for him. We now hear of the special promotions and NEW AUDIT TEAM being formed to fix problems, aka: THE HIT TEAM. If you aren't protected by your own private attornies you had better join the UNION for protection/legal representation.

a bexar county adult probation officer said: said...

To blogger 10:07:

HB 1326 is not a smokescreen. By Law, the Judges cannot intervene on behalf of any Adult Probation Department nor can they intervene on behalf of its officers even if they all get fired. The Judges can only hire and or FIRE Fitzgerald and the budget director. Your response clearly shows you did not read HB 1326. If you did read HB 1326 you obviously have a BIG problem with comprehension.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, the Judge's can fire him. As he himself once said to me, "much to the Judges's chagrin, they can only hire or fire me. They can't tell me how to run the department." Judges's he makes a fool of those he is suppose to lead and you.

Anonymous said...

It's just a matter of time before the Judge's of Bexar County wake up, pull their heads out of their ass and realize Fitzgerald has got to go. Fitzgerald, save yourself from embarrassment and resign. Don't forget to take your family and get the hell out of Texas. Screw the Jayhawks.

Anonymous said...

i can't wait to see the outcome of the audit team!

Anonymous said...

The audit team will be a valuable addition to our department. Lisa Mobley knows what she is doing and is very professional.

Anonymous said...

LISA MOBLEY was hired illegally! She was promised a job while still working as an AUDITOR for CJAD. Class A misdemeanor.
She is the "HIT PERSON" via the Audit team for ELMER FUDD, aka: Fitzgerald.
She like Cline could care less about FOLLOWING the rules as long as she gets the big money!!!!!!

The Outlaw said...

Alright so Cline does not do so well with a a skilled and prepared reporter. He has the questions and his method of trapping ready. As most reporters he to knows the answers to his own questions. So yes he does do better. But anyway, we keep talking about the many who were wrongfully arrested, and I only hear of one defendant that is filing a lawsuit along with Simonelli.

Thats strange to me. If a probationer had something on a probation officer or the department I'm sure they would of jumped on the wagon. The peoples lawyer Van Os I'm sure would also extend a helping hand since he is getting paid. In fact he may be the biggest winner when all is said and done. So keep that in mind. But where are, and who are all these probationers who were wrongfully arrested? Does anyone have a count of those wrongfully arrested? Does anyone have a count of those that were sent to prison for false positives? I would say just one would be to many, and yes something should be done. But where are the numbers? If taking blood and smearing the department is still the real agenda, why not bring these situations to the open? Keep smearing right? You can't say it will affect the lawsuit - there is only one defendant on the lawsuit. You can't say they will be retaliated against by the defendants Officer -I'm sure they have voiced the inaccurate u.a. result. So where is the rest of the story?

There was something I heard by Cline. She said there is more to this story than the u.a. lab. I'm thinking that may be true. This development of the u.a. lab which I don't deny did happen, goes further and further. Why does it go this far? Could it be Simonelli? I very much think so. Simonelli is out for her own cause. It's a personal battle with the Chief who danced all over her. The origianl lawsuit of retaliation was weakened due to Simonelli eagerness to suck up to the Chief. Well, since that didn't go well and she was played as a sucker, Simonelli lost a gasket. Since the gasket blew its all been a form of retaliation by Simonelli. The most that will be gained of this lawsuit might be the Chief saying I won't retaliate again. Big deal, Also, it will be in writing, big deal. I'm sure he will find a way if he really needs to. So much for a little gain. Whos to blame? Simonelli of course she met and kept working things out with the Chief. Meeting after meeting. She showed all could be find and dandy. That made the Chief look good and Simonelli is now out only leaving memories behind.

The lab situation could of been corrected and handled much differently. What happened to handeling things in a swift professional way. Well that was not the intent, it's now a smear game against the dept. to better Simonelli at everyones cost. Maybe thats why the Judges don't listen.

Maybe thats why the situation with Karla Escobar surfaced. Think about it. Would Simonelli (a pimp for gossip) let the story out? Would Simonelli sacrifice Karla? I think yes, I think damn right. Desperate messures for desperate times. And I don't mean the economy! You guys are still missing the picture.

For those of you that are thinking of heroism. Remember Heroes are people and people are flawed. Better yet keep in mind Heroing is one of the shortest professions there is. Who is out of a job?

Simonelli is a false positive. positive. Is the union moving the department forward? Maybe the union is also just interested in winning the lawsuit to avoid the loss of attorney fees. Remember I said to keep in mind who wins at the end. Paying $20.00 a month doesn't make sense for a union that is locked from making progress. I have said it before wake up.....

If your mission is to rid of the Chief, I think the USW and the quiet group (The Willful Negligent)need to reorganize and take a different approach.

The Outlaw