County looks for new head of department

FONDA-Montgomery County held a joint Personnel and Public Safety meeting Tuesday to start its search for a new youth activities leader.

Longtime youth activities leader Jennifer Petteys served her last day Friday as director of the Montgomery County Department of Youth, Alternatives to Incarceration & Veteran’s Services. She also had served as the Montgomery County Stop-DWI coordinator.

The joint meeting, run by Florida Supervisor and Personnel Committee Chairman William Strevy, discussed who would fill the position of the Youth Bureau Director and the placement of services such as Community Service and ATI.

According to Brenda Rava of the Department of Youth, those services were consolidated under the department several years ago.

Lucille Sitterly, director of the Department of Probation, said she felt Community Service and ATI should be placed under her department. She said both of those were better suited to probation.

However, she said, that’s not a criticism of the services provided or the job done by the Department of Youth.

“I felt that in the grand scheme of things, that [those are] criminal justice programs and they belong in criminal justice,” Sitterly said. “… I don’t believe [the programs] belong in the youth department.”

Root Supervisor John Thayer asked if Sitterly would still have the clerical work handled by the Youth department.

Sitterly said she would, but she has spare personnel to provide help if it was needed.

“I think the concern I have is that you are losing a clerical person, in essence. I believe [Petteys] did a tremendous amount of clerical work herself, despite being the director, and under your proposal, I don’t see that being backfilled,” Thayer said.

Rava said she felt it would be best to leave those programs with the Department of Youth.

The committee agreed with Rava.

“Brenda has done an excellent job there, and the saying goes, ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,'” Amsterdam town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said. “… I would hate to disrupt that office.”

DiMezza also said he would like to see Rava promoted to director.

The full Board of Supervisors is expected to appoint Rava at its meeting Jan. 22.