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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Juvenile Services Chief for Washington Co., OR

Closing Date/Time: Continuous
Salary: $8,944.00 - $10,867.00 Monthly
Job Type: Full Time
Location: Washington County Public Services Building, 155 N. First Avenue, Hillsboro 97124, Oregon

The Director of Juvenile Services Department will plan, direct and review the activities and operations of the Juvenile Department including basic services, shelter care, diversion intervention resource team, general and home detention and conciliation services program; will coordinate assigned activities with other County departments and outside agencies; and will provide highly responsible and complex administrative support to the County Administrator.

Individuals who are interested in this outstanding opportunity are asked to apply online after creating a master account. Attaching a cover letter and a comprehensive resume to the short form application will take the place of completing a more comprehensive application form. Scroll down to the bottom of the application to attach the required application materials. This position is open until filled. First review of applicant materials will begin March 1, 2012. Please follow the directions in the position profile.

EXAMPLES OF DUTIES: Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Develop, plan and implement Department goals and objectives; recommend and administer policies and procedures.
2. Coordinate Department activities with those of other departments and outside agencies and organizations.
3. Direct, oversee and participate in the development of the Department's work plan; assign work activities, projects and program; monitor work flow; review and evaluate work products, methods and procedures.
4. Administer and direct the provision of juvenile counseling services including program planning, fiscal planning and management, fiscal procedures, monitoring and evaluation.
5. Supervise child custody studies; supervise mediation and conciliation services to the Domestic Relations Court.
6. Supervise and participate in the development and administration of the Juvenile Department budget; direct the forecast of funds needed for staffing, equipment, materials and supplies; monitor and approve expenditures; implement midyear adjustments.
7. Select, train, motivate and evaluate personnel; provide or coordinate staff training; work with employees to correct deficiencies; implement discipline and termination procedures.
8. Provide staff assistance to the Board of Commissioners; prepare and present staff reports and other necessary correspondence.
9. Participate on a variety of boards and commissions; attend and participate in professional groups and committees.
10. Respond to and resolve difficult and sensitive citizen inquires and complaints.
11. Perform related duties as assigned.

• juvenile, domestic and child welfare laws and codes, juvenile and family treatment theory and methodology;
• modern and complex principles and practices of juvenile program development and administration;
• organization and management practices as applied to the analysis and evaluation of programs, policies and operational needs;
• principles and practices of organization, administration and personnel management; principles and practices of fiscal planning, budget preparation and administration;
• principles and practices of supervision, training and performance evaluation; and
• of pertinent federal, state and local laws, codes and regulations.
Ability to: • analyze problems, identify alternative solutions, project consequences of proposed actions and implement recommendations in support of goals;
• effectively administer a variety of juvenile program activities;
• gain cooperation through discussion and persuasion;
• select, supervise, train and evaluate assigned staff;
• design and implement fiscal systems;
• identify and respond to public, County Administrator, and Board of Commissioners issues and concerns;
• interpret and apply Federal, State and local policies, procedures, laws and regulations;
• communicate effectively both verbally and in writing; and
• establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with individuals, whether members of the public or coworkers, from diverse groups and backgrounds.

Any combination of experience and training that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be through professional experience with juvenile and family treatment theory and methodology, as well as knowledge of modern and complex principles and practices of juvenile program development and administration; current or prior management level experience leading the work of staff through training, performance evaluation and counseling; and a bachelor's degree in behavioral, social sciences, public administration or related field.”

This job vacancy posted by the County of Washington in the State of Oregon noticeably lists “typical qualifications” for Director of the Juvenile Services Department, as if there would be much flexibility in the minimum skills and knowledge for an effective agency director within the field. I can imagine a babysitter applying for this position based on the notion that supervising a few monster children and a bunch of well-behaved ones qualifies one as having “administer(ed) a variety of juvenile program activities.” Under such flexible guidelines, any law-abiding citizen could successfully claim that he/she technically “interpret(s) and appl(ies) Federal, State and local policies, procedures, laws and regulations” by virtue of not violating any (or at least not being caught while willfully or ignorantly violating the same). In lieu of this, I suppose that folks who have "misinterpreted" various laws could claim experience operating within a detention environment, a "service" which the JSD provides to young hellions before they come of age to face adult consequences for their actions.

Considering the lack of specific experience necessary to evince “knowledge of… practices of organization, administration, and personnel management,” let alone “ability to…design and implement fiscal systems,” I imagine that HR is fairly open-minded about which life experiences count towards these qualifications. While that approach produces a broader talent pool, it also encourages a greater number of unqualified applicants to apply in hopes that they can spin enough hot air out of their non-clinical, non-managerial experiences to at least get an interview. Referring to minimum qualifications as “typical” rather than “mandatory” seems to be an agency rule within the State, as I could not find any statute requiring such a qualifier.

The requirement to “identify and respond to” concerns held by county officials and by the public sounds reasonable on its face until you consider the “identify” part. Shouldn’t the Board of Commissioners and the County Administrator give orders to each director, including this one? Gauging public opinion of the department consists primarily of realizing that most communications from private citizens represent vocal, ranting critics (with the occasional laudatory, raving fan) rather than the silent majority (whose needs and wants are either met by or outside the scope of the department).

Why would it be so challenging to identify these concerns? This explicit reference to communications problems or “issues” within the agency suggests a toxic work environment in which decision makers are reluctant to share information, lest their respective fiefdoms come under criticism. I suppose that a new hire lacking proper department cred will need to use formal authority more often than not in the course of “discussion and persuasion” to draw out the hidden agenda of “concerns” from relevant stakeholders:

JSD Director: “To what extent has my department’s new mental hygiene program for troubled teens reduced middle-of-the-night crank calls to the County Commissioners?”

Chair of the Board of Commissioners: “I’ll tell you after you send me the status report I requested two weeks ago!”

JSD Director: “What status report? You never told me.”

Chair of the Board of Commissioners: “I shouldn’t have to tell you! Your job is to understand my concerns, irrespective of how uncooperative I am.”

JSD Director: “Remember that the ability to understand your concerns was a typical qualification, not an absolute!”

Chair of the Board of Commissioners: “Blast it, HR should just say, ‘Thick-headed people need not apply!’”

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