Friday, September 18, 2009

Bexar seeking probation director's replacement

Embattled Bexar County probation Director Bill Fitzgerald may be taking his own sweet time about leaving his post after judges expressed "no confidence" in his services, but FWIW the county is moving forward to find his replacement. I noticed this job posting on the website of the Texas Probation Association:
Chief Adult Probation Officer for Bexar County

The district and statutory county court judges trying criminal cases in Bexar County are soliciting applications for Chief of the Community Supervision and Corrections Department, responsible for the operation of the county adult probation department and supervision of 400+ employees. Qualifications: Graduate degree preferred in criminology; counseling; social work; psychology; business; public or nonprofit administration; or a closely related field; or a J.D. Significant administrative or managerial experience, with demonstrated leadership in a department or business. All candidates must also meet the eligibility requirements for a community supervision officer as set out in the Texas Government Code. Must successfully pass a background investigation. Required to be on call 24 hours a day, and required to work more than 40 hours per work week. Salary range is $135,000 to $170,000 per year. Applicants must submit a résumé and short letter outlining their interest in and qualifications for this position to: Melissa Barlow Fischer, General Administrative Counsel for the Criminal District Courts, Cadena-Reeves Justice Center, 300 Dolorosa Suite 4076, San Antonio, TX 78205. Applications must be received by November 2, 2009.
This will be an important hire so I hope Bexar gets some good applicants. Part of Bill Fitzgerald's problem, several people have told me, was that he came to San Antonio as a transplant from Phoenix and never quite understood or fit in with the local culture. It'd be nice if somebody with some gravitas who's highly respected in Bexar County criminal justice circles (perhaps like former GOP Sheriff's candidate Dennis McKnight, who IMO could do a lot in that position) apply for the job. Both the employees and the judges need to be able to trust whoever ends up in that slot.

In addition to Fitzgerald's problems with employee relations, Bexar has been among the most recalcitrant counties at implementing state level reforms aimed using progressive sanctions more aggressively and reducing the number of probation revocations. Judges need to hire somebody capable of confronting those challenges instead of resisting state-mandated reforms.


Anonymous said...


First....Budget that had layoffs and furloughs was just voted on. The judges had Fitz stop the layoffs and furloughs. Now they open the job up on TPA's website. No internal post just on TPA? Then they up the salary 30,000 and throw in the JD? They have a pick already and the fix is in.

The revocation rates were not correct!!!!! They did the study wrong. I know you mean well Grits but Bexar screwed the study all up. The revocation numbers really did go down. Fitz is so stupid he and his flab filled sidekick DECLINE have no idea what they are doing.

Now, we have Fabelo in there trying to find the problem. The problem is the judges have no time for oversite...Fitz never showed up for work and when he did the alcohol smell would knock you down.
DECLINE had no probation expertise. The association officers know the truth and can tell you what they did wrong. Problem is they are so pissed off they just come do the work and go home. They shut down the passion to fix things and work on new ideas.

You see, even if you knew they were screwing up the stats and spoke out you would be fired. We all knew that and when they fired the female association prez it just proved the shut up factor.

Now they will bring in a new person with the same band of fools around him/her and watch it all happen again. The only solution is to hire from within....find someone who knows where the bones are at. Stop starting from scratch. We have about 10 plus from within who can do the job.

Judges wake the HE99 up and think!!!

Anonymous said...

ffI agree Grits, this is an important position for the Bexar County Judges to fill. It will be interesting as the 22 judges attempt to agree on someone to hire. To date the judges have been very divided on just about everything.

The judges are no doubt going to get a lot of pressure from the union to hire a union sympathizer. This pressure will most likely be in the form of intimidation, threats, and attacks. I say this because of past actions by the union.

An example is the Bexar County Probation Office. Union officials have attacked the department, Chief Fitzgerald, judges not pro union, county commissioners not pro union, and non union employees for years. The union's announced plan was to overwhelm the department with frivolous and non frivolous complaints.

The union attacks will become more intense against judges not sympathetic to the union. Some of the judges have already sacrificed the welfare of the probation department for the promised support of the union. I hope that the majority of the judges remain committed to the successful operation of the department.


Anonymous said...

The union has not saved anybody's job at the probation office.

The judges did not order Fitzgerald to stop potential layoffs. The judges simply reversed a policy adopted by the County Court Judges that caused the financial crisis. Judge Merry knew this when he spoke for the County Court Judges. I noticed Judge Merry was very careful not to mention how the financial crisis started or even ask why the layoffs may have been needed.

Anonymous said...


Grits knows the truth! He knows the union gripes were not frivolous! The failed audits, sexual harassment, retaliation and on and on..... Some judges now have the facts and the communication is better. The union members are not scared to talk to the judges now. The judges are getting the whole truth! Including the federal judge!

The truth is many judges are in tight races. The primary in Bexar is labor controlled. Why? Labor VOTES...All 30,000 in SA. The members are motivated to have a voice. We understand the union is not the solution. We just wanted a voice. It would have been nice to be able to tell Fitz when we were about the hit an iceberg. However the leadership stuffed us away. Now the titanic is sinking and the Fitz rats are going down with the ship. So, blogger 2:21 the judges are going with the union both DEM's and REP's because the truth is out. I heard about the federal affidavits and got them off PACER. I have been reading for a week.

After reading the affidavits from the federal suit....if you ever were on Fitz's side.. run like hell and never admit it. He and his mini me need prison time.

By the way....why is she still a lawyer. I'm waiting and if no one files a bar complaint on her....I will!!!

Anonymous said...

When things don't work out, blame it on the union. That's what General Motors did. I seriously doubt the employees association is out to run the department. They just have enough guts to take on "The Man" when he don't want to act right. Bravo, union leaders!

Anonymous said...

I do not blame it on the union. The union had an chance to make a real difference.

I blame it on the union leaders. They have failed.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like your case of sour grapes has more to do with your failure to get elected as a union officer than it does with the current union leadership. Let it go, dude, win some, lose some. Now, it's time to get on board and make sure the right director is chosen.

Anonymous said...

To all you bleeding heart Fitzgerald AS! KISSERS.

Stop blaming the UNITED STEEL WORKERS UNION, its President, its Officers and its Members. They have been more POSITIVE in exposing the CORRUPTION and correcting the WRONGS at the Bexar County Adult Probation Department then you sympathizers of FITZ & company have done. In fact, you sympathizers are just to blame for not standing up to the many WRONGS.
If you want to BLAME anyone, BLAME FITZ and all those Bexar County District & County Court Judges who stood by and did not to a DAMN thing to prevent FITZ from destroying what was once, one of the BEST Adult probation departments in TEXAS.
It is such a shame how the real losers in this mess have been the CITIZENS of Bexar County, Texas and of the United States & all their children. Adult Probation Officer are to protect all of Society, yet Adult Probation Officers have been WRONGLY FIRED for doing just that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, the union has begged for leaders. Blame yourself because if you are blogging blaming the union should have been helping....blame yourself. The union uncovered tons of corruption and now you want to blame the leaders???? Seems they were standing on ethics!!! We will never please everyone with a computer and fingers. We are just striving to do better. Every Bexar voter knows FITZ had to go. If you are defending him...check yourself. If you are insulting the union....we don't care we serve our members only and of course we try to do the best for the voters. Employees on the outside looking in....get a don't know the truth. They fed you scraps of wrong info and you guys lick it up.
The department is changing because of employees who are uniting with like causes. The union is the term you like to insult. Have at it. The united employees will always prevail because they have each other to count on. People who insults us are in the rat race to move up and shine for the chief. All the uniting employees ask for is a fair wage, job security and a chance to serve the defendants best interest as well as the publics.

Anonymous said...

I am not a Fitzgerald supporter or a union lackey, but I have been able to read what has been published about the probation department. So far three unions have failed to sign up a majority of employees. It seems obvious most employees do not want a union.

The unions are also attempting to sign members in other Bexar County Departments. The result is the same. The number of union members among all county employees with the exception of the sherif's department is no where near a majority.

Chief Fitzgerald is only the first Bexar County Department Administrator to draw union attacks. Another administrator not pro union will be the next victim. Who this will be probably depends on which administrator makes the first mistake that can be easily exploited by the union.

The unions strength at the probation department would come from large numbers of front line employees being united in a common cause. There are no large numbers and the union has mostly ignored personnel policies. The focus has instead been on urinalysis policy.

The unions failure to gather support from front line employees does not mean the union will go away. The union is also attempting to influence politicians and department administrators. The majority that do not want a union may get one anyway, simply because politicians and union leaders will trade politicial favors.

Recently the Bexar County Deputies union was very vocal and active when the county was considering layoffs and the elimination of some positions. The union with with Bexar County Probation Officers as members said nothing when Bexar County Court Judges passed a policy that was going to force layoffs in the probation department.

Anonymous said...

"Not a Fitz supporter or union lackey" but your biased analysis of the Bexar Co probation situation is anything but objective. I think you missed your calling. You should be providing some of that objective political analysis for a news organization that could really utilize your talents, like Fox Cable. That's what I call "Fair and Balanced!"

Anonymous said...

the union is working everyday to better the probation department! We don't toot our horns and LIE like the administration does. we'll see what happens soon with the riddance of Fitz and his cronies. By the way, get your facts straight, Mr. Edwards, Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez HAS NOT ruled on Ms. Simonelli's case yet. We go to court in January 2010. You might want to consider retirement before being fired come next administration. you're a sorry excuse for an administrator.

Anonymous said...

The judge may not have issued his final ruleing yet, but the judge did give her case a bad spanking.

The judge did agree everything Sherri did was insubordination. All that is left is the final nail in the coffin.

Sherri's only chance is to put off the decision until after a new chief is hired. Then she can maybe salvage her dignity.

Anonymous said...

I really believe the only union that will do us much good is NAPE.

Anonymous said...

OK Grits where is the fair and unbalanced reporting?

Where is the story about Sherri Simonelli loosing her federal lawsuit?

You did not mind posting articles and comments with half truths and false information about Chief Fitzgerald. When a judge makes a decision based on fact you fail to comment at all.

Bad form but not really surprising concerning this story did not meet with your agenda.

Maybe you did not even know Sherri lost her suit in which case I apoligize.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That is correct, I've been away from the computer for several days and your comment is the first I've heard of Sherri losing her suit. I'll be catching up on stories over the next couple of days and will get to it - too tired tonight. Of course, you're welcome to read bias into that if you want to; some will, I'm sure.

BTW, someone told me Fitzgerald had already packed up and moved out.