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Martes, 17 de Septiembre de 2019

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Records show several Juvenile Court hires had troubled employment history

Martes, 11 de Junio de 2019 | América del Norte, Estados Unidos
News 5 Cleveland
Noticia

Advocates call for change in hiring practices

There are more calls for change at the troubled Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center after 5 On Your Side Investigators discovered documents raising serious questions about whether the Juvenile Court is properly screening the people it hires.

In April, the Court fired Director of Detention Services Delbert Montgomery less than a year after he was hired following a nationwide search.

“In his leadership roles, Mr. Montgomery has faced challenges very similar to what we have experienced here,” Administrative Judge Kristin Sweeney told Cuyahoga County Council members last fall as she introduced Montgomery.

He was hired at a critical time for the county’s juvenile jail. Months earlier, teens rioted inside, and the ACLU warned county leaders: “The safety and constitutional rights of those at the detention center are at risk.”

Internal documents show Juvenile Court’s own administrator wrote, “Delbert inherited the detention center when it was in a state of dysfunction.”

“I think folks want a change, are ready for a change and are looking for strong leadership,” said Erin Davies, Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Coalition. Her organization has been working with Cuyahoga County’s Juvenile Court to make changes inside the detention center. “It was absolutely hoped Montgomery would be that person who could lead that change.”

But after 11 months on the job, Juvenile Court administrators decided he wasn’t. In her termination letter to Montgomery, Sweeney wrote “The information presented a comprehensive and clear picture that the detention center is not effectively operating under your leadership.” Sweeney added, “Due to the many issues existing under your leadership, the facility faces a significantly increased probability that an employee, a visitor or a youth in our care will get hurt.”

Montgomery came to Cuyahoga County after working as Director of the Muscogee County Department of Family and Children Services for Georgia’s Department of Human Services. Records obtained by 5 On Your Side Investigators show Montgomery was fired from his job there in February of 2018.

According to Montgomery’s personnel file, administrators in Georgia cited “continued deficiencies and ineffectiveness in performing his assigned job duties,” and wrote, “His actions have put the safety of our children in Muscogee in danger.”

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