Reorganizing the Juvenile Justice Program

Jefferson County juvenile justice council members are back to the drawing board as they try to salvage the program. The Department of Juvenile Justice, which overseas the program says members of the council have not been abiding by the bylaws of the agency, and it's time for a change.

Department of Juvenile Justice officials attended Jefferson County's juvenile justice council monthly meeting and addressed several concerns. One of the hot topics is the removal of les burke as the council's chairman.

"One of the members came here after meeting secretly and basically gave me an ultimatum to resign or vote me out. I wasn't going to see that happen and I was going to resign," says Les Burke, former chairman.

Several members say folks in Jefferson County have not supported the organization because of Burke.

David Frisby, Monticello Police Department Chief, says, "We had a chairman that people weren't getting along with the sheriff dropped off and I dropped of and local leaders quit coming because of the chairman."

At the last meeting members voted to oust Burke as chairman, but DJJ officials informed council members that in the past few months they were all acting outside the sunshine law and did not follow the bylaws of the council in order to remove Burke. Now, members are looking forward to a change.

Kenneth Barker, a Jefferson County juvenile council member, says, "I would like to see new leadership and get the council moving in the right direction so we can get the county moving in the right direction.

A move they hope will please the entire community.

The council will form a committee to find a new leader to get folks back on track to its original goal, providing help for juveniles in Jefferson County. Council members expect to have a new leader in place sometime in July.