BREAKING: New Texas Juvenile Justice Department Executive Director Removes Two Top Officials

From the Austin-American Statesman:

The just-arrived head of the troubled Texas Juvenile Justice Department today removed two top officials from their jobs, in what he hinted might be the first of several moves to change the agency’s course.

One of the two officials who lost their jobs — James Smith, the deputy director of state youth services — was among 11 top agency officials who received pay raises last March, at a time of budget cuts and layoffs at other agencies, in an action that drew demands from legislative to rescind the raises after the American-Statesman disclosed them.

In a message to agency employees late this afternoon, Mike Griffiths, in his first day as executive director, said he has removed Smith and Robin McKeever, the deputy executive director, effective immediately.

“I have made a decision to lead this agency in a different direction,” Griffiths wrote. “I will be decisive in implementing an organizational structure that supports effective communication, responsiveness and accountability through all levels of our department.”

Visit the Statesman’s blog at the link above for more information.

Alex Hunt

About Alex Hunt

Alex Hunt is a former Yale & Irene Rosenberg Graduate Fellow at the Center for Children, Law & Policy. Alex graduated from the University of Texas in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in government. Before entering law school, he taught middle school math at YES Prep Southwest in Houston with Teach For America. In 2010, he received New Leaders' EPIC Spotlight Teacher Award, a national award for teachers with outstanding student growth. Alex graduated cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center in May 2013. During law school, Alex was Casenotes & Comments Editor for the Houston Journal of International Law, interned for both state and federal judges, and served as Vice President of the Health Law Organization (HLO). In addition, Alex has received the Irving J. Weiner Memorial Scholarship Award (for a year of outstanding work in the UH Law Center Legal Clinic), the Napoleon Beazley Defender Award (for outstanding work on behalf of children), the Ann Dinsmore Forman Memorial Child Advocacy Award, the Mont P. Hoyt Memorial Writing Award for an Outstanding Comment on a Topic in International Law, and he was a finalist for Texas Access to Justice's Law Student Pro Bono Award. Alex is currently in private family law practice with the Hunt Law Firm, P.L.L.C. in Katy, Texas.

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