Board approves Bass’ pick for private probation services

Private probation services for Grady County State Court will be handled by Judicial Alternatives of Georgia, Inc. (JAG) effective January 1 rather than Red Hills Community Probation following action taken by the Grady County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night.
The board voted 4-1, with Commissioner Bobby Burns opposing, to authorize the chairman to execute a contract at the recommendation of State Court Judge Bill Bass Sr. to engage JAG to provide private probation services for the court during 2011.
Earlier this month Judge Bass terminated the contract with Red Hills Community Probation and solicited proposals from the local firm as well as out-of-town providers.
Judge Bass and a committee comprised by local citizens, a representative of the Grady County sheriff’s office and County Administrator Rusty Moye interviewed the prospective bidders and based on their evaluations Judge Bass recommended to the commission the contract with JAG.
“The process has been satisfying except for the personal feelings. I am recommending what I think is best at this time and of course every six months we will review JAG’s performance. I have all the appreciation in the world for Mrs. (Maggie) Crutchfield (owner and operator of Red Hills), she is a friend, and if she will allow me to be I will continue to be a friend. This is not personal, but it is personal when you make decisions that impacts peoples’ lives,” Judge Bass said.
County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley noted an error in the dates of the contract, but other than correcting the typographical error he told commissioners he had no problems with the contract as presented.
Commissioner Charles Renaud questioned the cost to the county and Moye noted that there is no cost to the county. Judge Bass noted that the cost to the probationers under JAG would be similar to the fees charged by Red Hills.
“Well it’s the court’s call. I would rather keep it local, but its the judge’s call,” Renaud said.
Chairman Al Ball called for a motion and Commissioner Elwyn Childs offered a motion and then stated, “with the understanding he (Bass) is responsible for it. It’s his baby to handle.”
Ball then asked for a second, but none was immediately offered.
“If there is not a second does it continue as it is?” Commissioner Burns asked.
County Administrator Moye said “no” due to the fact the contract with Red Hills had been terminated.
Ball noted that in his packet of information to the commissioners Judge Bass had offered a second and third choice, but his strong recommendation was to approve the deal with JAG.
“It’s his court. I second the nomination,” Commissioner Charles Norton said after a few moments of silence.
Red Hills has served the State Court of Grady County for eight years. The firm will continue to provide private probation services for Cairo Municipal Court and other jurisdictions in southwest Georgia.

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