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July 18, 2013

Community corrections director to be reinstated

Probation, community corrections to again be independent departments


Clark County Community Corrections Director Steve Mason got some good news on Wednesday: He still has a job. 

Two weeks after the Clark County Community Corrections Advisory Board put Mason on paid leave and convened an ad-hoc committee to look into whether Chief Probation Officer Henry Ford’s decision to terminate Mason was proper and legal, the board voted to reinstate Mason effective Friday. Ford had claimed that Mason had exhibited a pattern of poor decision-making and inappropriate behavior. Ford later said he had “misspoke” when he told Mason that he was fired, noting that he lacked the authority to make that decision. 

“I just want to thank God for being with me and giving me the strength to get through this,” Mason said. “I thank the committee and the board for making what I believe is the right decision, and I want to thank my family and my friends for being there.”

In addition to approving Mason’s return to active duty on Friday, the advisory board endorsed each of the committee’s other recommendations, most important among them being the separation of the probation department from the community corrections department. 

“[Combining the two departments] was an experiment that while well-intentioned, didn’t work,” said Circuit Court No. 1 Judge Dan Moore, who led the ad-hoc committee. The committee included other members of the advisory board, as well as County Commissioners Rick Stephenson and John Perkins. 

Mason saw the decision to divorce his department from probation as good news.

“I think we’ll come out as a better organization, and I think that will help us provide a better service to our clients,” Mason said. 

However, the committee found that there are some areas where Mason could improve. In a letter drafted for review of the advisory board entitled “Expectations for the Executive Director, Work Release Director and Staff of the Clark County Community Corrections Program,” the committee recommends that Mason work on his interpersonal and management skills. 

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