Rutherford Co. Votes For Public Probation

Posted at 10:52 PM, Mar 17, 2016

With a 17-4 vote Thursday night, Rutherford County took the probation business in house.

A federal lawsuit against the county's private probation company PCC names the county too, and soured the idea to switch to another private company when the current contract is up at the end of the month.

"We're going to have road bumps and there will be hiccups along the way but it's how you react to it and how you move on from it, it's a learning curve," said the new director of probation services Trey King.

King was named director last week. He hopes to hire 18 people between Friday and Monday.

"We sent out job postings approximately a week, week and a half ago and we conducted interviews all last week," he said, in anticipation of Thursday night's vote.

It's a scramble to set up a new department by April 1. But King says it's for a noble cause.

"The operation we're trying to go after is to reduce the recidivism rate, try to keep them from the revolving door and put them back as productive citizens."

County Mayor Earnest Burgess assured commissioners that probationers' fees will cover all the costs of the department. But some aren't so sure.

"We'll just have to see in several months if it does what it's supposed to do, I hope it does," said commissioner Robert Stevens.

As a safe guard Stevens asked for a review of the program in six months as an amendment to the item. That amendment passed 20-1.

He says if costs go over revenue, tax payers would foot the bill. And if that's the case, some might reconsider the idea of looking at other private companies.