In 2006, I retired from the Fresno County Probation Department as a manager after having been employed with the department for 33 years.
I have been paying particular attention to the actions the court has taken against probation chief, Rick Chavez. After reading the court’s allegations in The Bee, I was shocked to find that most were baseless.
For instance, he is criticized for not following a consultant’s recommendations regarding policy. However, it’s the chief’s responsibility to set department policy not a consultant’s.
The inability to fully staff the Juvenile Justice campus is not Mr. Chavez’s fault, as this has been a serious problem for juvenile correctional facilities throughout the state for years.
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Many accusations that the court tries to label as misconduct are just Mr. Chavez continuing the past practices of the department and prior chiefs. For example, unarmed managers have been supervising armed personnel since the department became armed nearly two decades ago.
And there is no law or policy that prohibits a probation officer from owning a legitimate business even if it includes the sales of alcohol.
I’ve always found Mr. Chavez to be hard-working, knowledgeable and ethical in his work.
Brian Johnson, Fresno