Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lunch with County Employees: Off and Running

The day I began as County Commission President, I decided to two things differently so I could be more in tune with key community stakeholders.

First, I decided to schedule a monthly meeting in a different community. The point was to make the County more accessible to citizens, as well as to hear directly from communities about their situation--let them tell us "their story", including challenges, opportunities, and ways we at the County might help. Our first meeting in Blue Ash was a great success.

Second, I committed to host a monthly lunch (at my expense, not taxpayers) with a different set of County employees. Today we had the first lunch, and it was great.

I met with our very hard working Pretrial Services employees. I wanted to meet with them because they are public servants who stand on the front lines of our criminal justice system every day, working to improve safety, reduce recidivism and jail overcrowding, and help troubled citizens of our community get back on their feet. Whether it's getting people into the treatment they need, or ensuring that when people who have served a sentence "reenter" the community with the lowest probability of reoffending, our pretrial service public servants are vital. And they are actually recognized nationally for their excellent work.

It was a great conversation. They very openly explained the very challenging environment they face every day, and gave a lot of good ideas on how we can make improvements to our system. They confirmed some of my hunches about needed changes, but also opened my mind on other solutions we should be pursuing. It was a great discussion, and I will take a number of these ideas up through the Criminal Justice Commission.

Most importantly, it underscored what great public servants we have in this County, working incredibly hard, in a tough environment, but dedicated to making a difference.

Thanks to those who attended for what you do, and for sharing so many good ideas.


Anonymous said...

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this program came first as a free service to the county wherein Ms. Neihaus (?) developed this program to reduce the need for incarceration and develop / recommend alternative punishments for offenses.

The program of volunteers proved to be such a huge success it was incorporated and budgeted into the criminal justice program as an integral component of our system.

This program began as a citizens concept and was given a chance to prove viability - and did.


Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear you are doing this. I am glad to hear you care. I hope your exposure to employees will make it more difficult to institute unbelievably bad health care plans, furloughs and other costly burdens to the employees who will be left to pick of the pieces after all of these layoffs.

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