Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Monitor the monitors

The motives may appear unclear but the appearances of impropriety are.

Years of abuse and neglect of the department will take a long time to correct.

Put the entire department and its administration on probation.

Probation officer who was fired sues county

A probation officer who claims she was fired for sounding the alarm that false positives were being returned in drug tests has filed a lawsuit against Bexar County's Community Supervision and Corrections Department, its chief Bill Fitzgerald, lawyer Kathy Cline and human resources director Leticia Esquivel.

Sheri Simonelli, who leads the probation officer union that is affiliated with United Steel Workers, has said she was fired for insubordination after sending, from her home computer, a news release on the drug test issue to media and fellow union members.

The lawsuit was filed last Thursday in state district court.

Fitzgerald has repeatedly declined to comment on Simonelli's firing, citing personnel reasons. Jeff Warner of Alcohol & Drug Treatment Associates has said his tests are more sensitive, and that's why positives spiked when his lab took over earlier this year. The lab has since changed suppliers.