By Travis Loller, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An independent monitor for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services says the agency’s progress in 2012 was disappointing.
The Technical Assistance Committee reports to a federal judge on DCS’ performance as part of a 2001 settlement over the agency’s treatment of foster children.
Among other things, the 2012 report found that workers took too long to make contact with child victims. In the highest priority cases, where children were considered potentially to be in imminent danger, caseworkers made contact within the required 24 hours between about 30 and 70 percent of the time.
The report also found that young people who were aging out of foster care were not being prepared to transition to adulthood.
According to a review of independent living plans:
A bill to forbid United Nations representatives from observing Tennessee elections, approved by to state House panels previously, was killed when it came before a third on Tuesday.
The bill (HB589) would have made monitoring of a Tennessee election by a UN official a misdemeanor crime. It was sponsored by Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, who has said the idea came from tea party members in his district.
A UN-affiliated group sent two observers to Nashville last year to monitor elections – part of 42 persons sent around the United States to see if laws requiring photo ID to vote impacted elections.
“Frankly, the United Nations has no business doing that,” said Van Huss on Tuesday.
The bill was approved earlier this year by the House Local Government Subcommittee and the full Local Government Committee. But when it came before the Calendar Committee for scheduling a floor vote, it was instead sent to the Civil Justice Subcommittee on motion of Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol. who chairs that panel.
When it came up there Tuesday, Lundberg told the panel that keeping the state’s election process open to observers is a way of showing others that the United States and Tennessee have “the best form of government” and that “we don’t have systematic problems.”
Some other members voiced similar sentiments, but Reps. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, and Rick Womick, R-Murfreesboro, said their distaste of UN tactics led them to support Van Huss’ bill.
Carter said “those nuts issue reports saying we’re committing fraud and we’re doing it right.”
“They’re sending individuals in for the sole purpose of destroying our system, to declare that we have human rights violations,” said Womick. “We’ve got some real nutjobs in charge of the UN and we don’t want them in here.”
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Correction said he has addressed problems found in a performance audit by the state comptroller’s office that showed at least 82 people who parole officers claimed they checked on were actually dead.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Derrick Schofield talked about the audit and how his department was faring since it took responsibility for certain services in the Board of Parole.
The audit released in October found problems with parole checks that had been reported between January 2011 and May 2012.
Schofield said an internal investigation revealed no wrongdoing by staffers but uncovered problems with a faulty data entry process.
He said the department has since developed procedures for identifying and removing deceased offenders from rosters. This includes using databases that collect information on deaths reported in Tennessee and nationally to cross-reference individuals under supervision.
U.S. Justice Department officials will monitor the polls in Nashville and Memphis during Tuesday’s election, the department announced Friday.
From the Tennessean:
Davidson and Shelby counties are two of 51 jurisdictions in 23 states where the nation’s top law-enforcement agency plans to station more than 780 federal observers and department personnel. The Justice Department news release does not say why Davidson was chosen. Davidson County Election Administrator Albert Tieche said it was related to the training poll workers received last month — first reported by The Tennessean — on how to challenge the voting rights of people they believe may not be U.S. citizens.
Asked if he had instructed poll workers to be more careful about applying the law that allows for such challenges, Tieche said, “No, because they’ve never applied it before in the past.”
Tennessee also is in its first year of requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls.
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Thursday that voters in Shelby County, where Memphis is located, can use city-issued library cards as a valid photo ID. That ruling applies to Shelby County only.
9th District congressman Steve Cohen is just back from Georgia — no, not that Georgia, the one that used to belong to the former Soviet Union — and, as he waited in the Newark airport Tuesday, he could barely contain the elation he felt from having observed a political sea change in that land-bound Eurasian naton.
More from Jackson Baker: Cohen was in Georgia as a member of the Helsinki Commission and as an international monitor, appointed by House speaker John Boehner, charged with observing parliamentary elections Monday in the Republic of Georgia.
What Cohen got to see, as he told the Flyer, was a nation in the act of asserting its will for change. The election process seemed both “free and fair,” and the outcome was a defeat for the ruling party of incumbent Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who conceded the election to a coalition led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.
News reports have characterized the pending transition to be a victory for democracy, and Cohen concurs in that judgment.
The new leader is “a Bloomberg type,” Cohen said, referring to Michael Bloomberg, the wealthy entrepreneur who is now serving his third term as mayor of New York.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A state audit of the Board of Probation and Parole found that employees were making annual arrest checks of at least 82 dead parolees. The parolees had been dead anywhere from less than six months to more than 19 years.
In at least two cases, officers completed documents stating that the offenders were still alive.
The audit results were released on Monday.
In a statement on the audit, Comptroller Justin Wilson said, “If parole officers are supervising dead people, this is a waste of taxpayer dollars and makes us wonder about the supervision of parolees living in our communities.”
The audit also found that many probation and parole officers were not completing all the supervision requirements. There were many instances of no evidence that officers tried to contact offenders.
— Note: News release below