Until the Legislature fixes structural flaws, though, and adequately staffs facilities, the underlying problems aren't going away. Now that Townsend's on her way out, who will be the next scapegoat? Honestly I don't know who would want the top TJJD spot: It's a bit like the honor of being named Darth Vader's next lieutenant. Find Townsend's letter to employees announcing her retirement below the jump.
I want you to know that today I informed the TJJD Board of my intent to retire from state service effective June 30, 2012. Over the last two months, it has become clear that the focus on my values and principles related to best practices in juvenile justice are detracting from the mission and work of the agency.
I have worked for over 40 years as a juvenile justice system practitioner and leader. It has been my privilege to serve in many capacities, to work with thousands of employees and community leaders, and to lead organizations at both the local and state level. Serving as your executive director was the culmination of all that work. As I look back, I am astounded by the accomplishments over the years by people working collaboratively to make certain that communities were safer and that youth had opportunities for change and success in their lives. That was especially true here in Texas.
It took a lot of soul searching to reach this decision. I believe in the goals of this new agency. And, I have appreciated your support and commitment to accomplishing those goals as well as to doing all that you could to insure safe and secure facilities, to achieve better outcomes for youth and to support their families. You are an amazing group of individuals with great talent. And, I will miss you.
I will be working through the end of June and hope to have the opportunity to speak with many of you personally during that time. Please know that you will always have my support, respect and admiration for the work that you do and your dedication to serve youth and the goals of this agency. I will always be thankful for the time we worked together.
MORE: Mike Ward reports that Jay Kimbrough will be interim chief; see Grits' earlier assessment of the former TYC conservator. AND MORE: From the Texas Tribune.