Don't slight pro YDC staff

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I am writing to you as the former director of Augusta Youth Development Campus, a facility that has received extensive media coverage recently because the unfortunate death of a resident.

I am not writing to explain my sudden departure nor defend my performance as director, since these have both been adequately discussed in a recent letter from Mike Hale, a well-respected former teacher. My extensive career has touched the lives of many youth, and serves to define me as a person and a professional.

I am writing to express my appreciation and praise to the many staff members at Augusta YDC, who are true professionals and dedicate themselves to serving the residents despite low pay and their sacrifice of family needs.

Yes, there are some marginal employees, as there are in any organization. However, the majority of the staff do not deserve to have Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Gale Buckner state that they are working toward “bringing professionalism back to the staff.” This is a slap in the face to the many great staff members with whom I have been privileged to serve over the years.

They, as I, have had a difficult period of grief and sadness as we lived through the recent tragic events and ensuing turmoil. My sincere hope is that this feeding frenzy presently taking place allows time for the newly anointed experts to recognize the difference between good and evil, and not allow their self-importance to cloud their judgments.

It is frequently too easy to pull a weak plant out by the roots rather than spend the time and effort in nursing it back to health. The second approach will yield a beautiful new plant to enrich the lives of others.

John Brady


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Riverman1 12/27/11 - 07:24 am
Since, the editorial on this

Since, the editorial on this same subject was quoting Ghostbusters this morning, I'll add one more here.

Winston Zeddemore: "Ah, if there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say."

wondersnevercease 12/27/11 - 11:10 am
""It is frequently too easy

""It is frequently too easy to pull a weak plant out by the roots rather than spend the time and effort in nursing it back to health. The second approach will yield a beautiful new plant to enrich the lives of others.""...what a bunch of goofy dribble...........................get rid of the government addicted employees and privatize the facility.

dichotomy 12/27/11 - 11:38 am
Mr. Brady. These incidents

Mr. Brady. These incidents were not caused by "marginal" employees. They were clearly substandard employees. And in a tight knit employment situation such as YDC, the other staff members knew who was substandard and doing unacceptable things. If the rest of the staff were truly "professional" they would have reported these employees and these incidents to you and would have encouraged, or pressured, you to to correct the situation. I refuse to believe these kinds of things were going on in an institution staffed by "professionals". And maybe that phrase you used, "dedicate themselves to serving the residents", is the first indicator of why things are out of control at YDC. Maybe they should dedicate themselves to maintaining discipline and enforcing the rules. YDC is a detention facility for criminals. The YDC staff is not there to "serve the residents". They are there to detain the inmates (not residents), enforce the rules, and maintain a safe environment. They are not there to be their buddies, provide them with drugs, have sex with them, and turn a blind eye to bullying and sexual assault, which is apparently what is really going on down there. I am sure that your "professional" staff knew what was going on in there and I am fairly certain that you knew. If nobody did anything to stop it, then they all deserve to be investigated and disciplined and probably fired. The place is a rat's nest and needs a thorough cleaning. It should probably be staffed by a platoon of former military drill sergeants with a crusty old former First Sergeant as director. YDC should be like waking up in boot camp every day and the mere possibility of being sent there should strike fear in the hearts of teens everywhere. That fear should be the fear of discipline, work, and constant supervision, not the fear of being beaten and raped with intermittent breaks for sex and drug use. In a closed, tight knit environment such as YDC, if you and your staff did not know what was going on then you must have all been comatose. If you did know what was going on and did not stop it then your actions, or lack thereof, should be criminal. I might be somewhat sympathetic if someone produced correspondence to superiors that said "hey, I've got beatings, rapes, suicides, and drug use going on down here and I need more staff", but nobody has made that argument. I refuse to accept your "we are professional and dedicated" rationale. The facility should be privatized.

avidreader 12/27/11 - 11:56 am
Mr. Brady, I feel sympathy

Mr. Brady, I feel sympathy for you. Mike Hale's letter in your defense was moving and heartfelt, and I trust his words. However, you were the boss and the buck stopped at your desk.

I have a question or two for you. As the top administrator, did you have the power to fire less-than-adequate personel? Did the state give you the authority to "crack down" on miscreants (both employees and inmates) as you saw fit? And a third question -- will any administrator be able to succeed in this huge task without the unfettered support of the powers-that-be in Atlanta?

I think I already know the answers to my questions, even though they may be complex and hurtful to certain policy-makers. I hope you land on your feet and find a good job -- hopefully one that doesn't involve a massive state-funded prison system.

harley_52 12/27/11 - 02:08 pm
Ditto to what dichotomy said.

Ditto to what dichotomy said.

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