Today’s (Actually, Not Today’s) Episode of Inside (Deals of) Gwinnett: Probation Contracts

Update:  This was an older story that was re-tweeted today as noted by Bob in the Comments. I’m leaving it up as it demonstrates another example of the deep level of inside dealing within Gwinnett County.

Bob Griggs brings us this gem.  Gwinnett County is prepared to replace one contract that outsources probation services with another without even opening the bids submitted for the job.

Professional Probation Services, the 18-year-old company owned by State Rep. and Congressional candidate Clay Cox, had held the contract for 10 years and had received high marks from the judges. When time to renew the contract rolled around, however, Gwinnett State Court Judge Robert Mock awarded the contract to another company, Southeast Corrections.

Will the county save money? We may never know. After advertising the contract for competitive bidding, Judge Mock awarded the contract to Southeast Corrections without even opening the bids. Perhaps he expects us to ignore the fact that the majority owner of Southeast Corrections is former County-Commissioner-turned-mega-developer Wayne Mason, someone who has leveraged his connections to his financial benefit for years.

Griggs notes that the State Court is allowed to award the contract without competitive bidding.  Because, you know, that is how justice is done I guess.

6 comments

  1. BobG says:

    Charlie, I apologize for the confusion. I linked to a 2010 article on my blog in a tweet, as you know. The impetus: An attorney for Professional Probation’s parent company, in light of the recent “unpleasantness” in Gwinnett, is calling on the county to re-open the 2010 probation services contract that went to Southeast Corrections. A couple of TV stations called for a comment, which brought it to my attention.

    What I described in my 2010 article happened… however, it’s not new; just old becoming new again.

      • BobG says:

        It was covered pretty extensively at the time… the other bidders were understandably ticked. The judges justified the decision, saying that they didn’t have to let it for bids in the first place. Southeast Corrections quickly opened an office in downtown Lawrenceville. I cannot recall what the term of the contract was; as far as I know, it’s still held by Southeast.

        Professional Probation had held the contract for 10 years with no complaints. A third bidder, as I recall, was much more experienced and qualified than was Mason’s firm. The indisputable bottom line is that, because the bid process was short-circuited, there is no guarantee that the taxpayer got the best deal. Also, there was no reason to abandon the bid process EXCEPT to show favoritism to one company over another. Draw your own conclusions… you’d probably be right.

  2. CobbGOPer says:

    I have trouble with privatized probation. Actually, generally I have a problem with privatization in the judicial system period. It’s the one area of government where I believe private companies need to be barred from involvement in enforcement, corrections, and courts. I don’t want profit motives influencing blind justice, when it could mean life or death for an individual in the extreme case.

    I wonder if Judge Mock is issuing longer terms of probation in his court since 2010 when his friends began providing the probation service…

    • We do need to be very careful privatizing parts of the criminal justice system. We ( like the rest of the Southern States) don’t have a very good track record on this topic. See Doug Blackmon’s book ‘Slavery By Another Name.”

  3. Harry says:

    Gwinnett…where the inside players play. Excerpted from the Gwinnett Daily Post, 11/7/2011:

    With the chief judges of two of Gwinnett’s courts retiring in a year, candidates started stepping forward Friday to replace them.

    #Tracey Mason Blasi, the niece of former commission Chairman Wayne Mason, announced she will campaign to replace Superior Court Judge Dawson Jackson.

    #Blasi, a South Gwinnett High School grad who has practiced law in Georgia for nearly 20 years, specializes in mediation and land use. She has been a Municipal Court Judge in Duluth.

    #The Lawrenceville woman has been involved in many local organizations, including the Council for Quality Growth, the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce and the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Resources. She is the co-founder of United Way’s Women’s Legacy in Gwinnett, is a Leadership Gwinnett graduate, is a past-president of the Rotary Club of Gwinnett, and is the current president of the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia.

    #Suwanee woman Emily Brantley will be a candidate for State Court judge of Gwinnett County, to replace Judge Robert Mock is retiring at the end of 2012.

    #”The people of Gwinnett County recognize the hard work that Judge Mock has done,” Brantley said. “He has helped raise the standard by which judges operate, and we all appreciate his service.”

    #Brantley, a mother of three daughters, specializes in complex civil litigation.

    #”As our new judge, I will be able to rely on my experience,” Brantley said. “A good judge, a fair judge, enters a courtroom without predetermined conclusions, but relies on the law and the Constitution. I will do exactly that.”

    http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2011/nov/05/political-notebook-blasi-brantley-announce/

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