• 63°

Hogansville fails to make decision regarding probation officer

The Hogansville City Council failed to take action Monday night on determining how best to run the police department’s probation office moving forward. The city contracts with Hamil and Associates to have a probation officer work in the city, but is ending its operations Dec. 31. 

The council was presented with the options to contract with Professional Probation Services or CSRA services. City Manager David Milliron recommended he and Hogansville Police Chief Brian Harr negotiate with the probation officer on contract to make them an employee until June 30, 2019, when the next fiscal budget can be passed and a thought-out decision can be made

“We will no longer have any contract with [Hamil and Associates],” Milliron said. “They are closing their doors, so we would have an independent contract with the state certified probation manager, which is one individual.”

Harr said after talking to Hamil and Associates, the city was ultimately left with two options, either outsource the job again or hire the probation officer as part of the HPD.

“The other side of that is if we manage our probation ourselves, any fees and any fines stay with us,” Harr said. “That sounds really good, but that means it can be hit or miss. I’d love to say that we never have anybody on probation and we don’t ever have to worry about it, but that’s not the fact.”

Harr said an entry level salary for a probation officer is approximately $31,000 a year. 

Milliron said the company wants to close Dec. 31, but has told him it will stay open until the city council decides. Milliron said the city can’t fully hire the probation officer due to the city’s budget not being able to absorb a $30,000 salary.

“It’s my staff recommendation that we go ahead and consider authorizing the city manager and the police chief to negotiate directly with the state certified probation manager here and see if we can’t do a professional services contract with that individual,” Milliron said.

Council Member Theresa Strickland asked what agency pays the probation officer. Harr replied that Hamil and Associates pays the officer. 

Strickland also asked for the average number of people on probation in Hogansville, and are thus paying probation fees a month. Harr said there are currently 41 people on probation in Hogansville.

Council Member Fred Higgins asked about the need for manpower as it relates probation.

“At this point we’re not seeing a need for the man power,” Harr said.

Higgins made a motion to accept the staff recommendation, but no one seconded it.

Strickland then made a motion for Milliron and Hamil and Associates to extend their contract for a couple of weeks in January, so they could look into the situation more. Council Member Marichal Price seconded the motion. Strickland and Price voted for the motion, Higgins voted against and Council Member George Bailey abstained from voting. Council Member Reginald Jackson was not present at Monday’s meeting, thus the motion failed. 

Because the motion failed and the city council did not make a decision, Milliron told City Attorney Jeff Todd to pull their contract with Hamil and Associates and to legally look into what they can do about the situation.