I have read every article that Times Free Press has put out on Taft Youth Center, and would like to thank them for covering such an important topic, as for the Tennessean, I can't say that. I wonder why? Oh, could it be that they are bought and paid for by our Governer, who looks like Dana Carvey? What I see in the long run is Juvenile Justice being dropped from DCS and being run by CCA. This will become a reallity as long as the current admistration is in place. I stongly believe that Haslam and O'Day have thier hand in someone's pocket. If Juvenile Justice is ran by CCA the troubled youth in Tennessee will have no hope, as anyone in privte ran institutions is just warehoused. If and when this happens you can forget watching the local High School games this fall and seeing the Taft boys take the field as a team, something they have never experienced in a positive manner. I have been to several of the games and stood at the sidelines with Coach Worthington and Coach Smith and saw the look on a teenager's face when he makes his first touchdown or his first block or tackle. That is something you will never see in a CCA ran institution. It is a very rewarding experience for anyone that is involved. This is just to let the tax payers in Tennessee know what they have elected and what they will expect in the months to come.
I agree with everyone that has commented on this article. Mr. Cook you have hit the nail on the head. This all boils down to making money not helping kids. If Taft were to close and these boys go to the other three institutions what does O'Day and Dawson plan to do when these boys tear these places apart? Because it will happen. We are proof of that, we house some of the students that these other three places can't handle. If Woodland or Mt. View has a kid that they can't handle if Taft were to close, what are they going to do with him. They can no longer threaten him with sending him to Taft. For years we have been a dumping ground for the other three facilities, taking in these "wayward youth" and turned them into productive citizens of this state. In the words of George Jones, "Who's Gonna Fill There Shoes" once Taft is gone. I encourage everyone to support Taft Youth Center in staying open, helping these young men and helping the fine folks that work there.
I wonder, pikeville, if the Governer will tell us how much money he is going to make from closing Taft Youth Center. We do know that after saving Hardeman from closure he received a $2,000 donation to his campain fund from the CEO of CCA and $7,500 donation from CCA itself. Could it be a case of "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours"?
Employee, you are right I would like to see someone like Anderson Cooper take this story and turn up the real truth. Let America see what the shape the state of Tennessee is really in and what is to come in the months ahead. It does appear that our elected offical and his appointed cabinet is preparing to do a detrimental service to our great state. Granted he did propose a good thing with the raise for state employees and the decrease in grocery sales tax (very small decrece but a decrease none the less), but cutting civil service protection, and not putting Taft Youth Center back in the budget. Read the front page article in today's Chatt Times, "gang issues" is the topic. Close Taft Youth Center and see what type of "gang issues" the city of Chattanooga will have including the surrouding cities. Even the small towns north of Chattanooga are having gang problems. That's really a smart choice, close a center that deals with young gang members, allow them to go elsewhere, possibly earn an early release and hit the streets running, back to thier old gang banging ways.
As I watched the meeting from yesterday (posted online at http://tnga.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=137&clip_id=4793) it seems that O'Day and her staff know nothing of the daily operation of the institutions. She brought all those people with her and they still could not give a direct answer to any of the questions that were asked of them. Check out the link for yourself and watch the meeting and you make the decision for yourself if you think that the commissioner is competent or not.
Crossville, I don't have the answer to your question but I can have that information for you soon. I beleive that she knows that she's in the hot seat. I think that Taft still has a fighting chance. After all this time she can't give a direct answer to any of the questions. Dawson didn't show, I think, because he knew she would be on the hot seat and didn't want to be on it himself. These Reps have already put him in his place once and he didn't want that to happen again. If I didn't know every aspect of my job details, including policy and procedure, I know my supervisor would ask for discipline, chew me out, etc. Looks like to me she knows nothing about her job nor does her "cronies".
I’m sure that everyone that has read these comments, articles, press releases, watched the nightly news, and most of all, work at Taft Youth Center would like to know the real reason why DCS Commissioner O’Day has targeted Taft Youth Center. Could it be that these folks have been labeled as having a “mountain mentality”, or could it be that they are running an institution that has been in operation since the 1930’s and looks like a shining star up against Albert Dawson’s pride and joy, Woodland Hills? It’s clear it’s not based on the structurally soundness of the buildings on campus because all of the buildings have been remolded since the 1980’s and three of them were built new in 2005. Granted you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. As it seems that Commissioner O’Day thinks we are. The hard working folks at Taft have given it one hell of a shot by their dedication and teamwork, to improve one thing that the future of our state depends on, its youth. I have to agree with all of the people that have posted here. We all have valid comments and concerns. The real losers if Taft were to close would be the children most of all but the taxpayers in Tennessee.
I too would like to thank these Representatives and I would also like to thank all the city and county officials that have passed resolutions and the citizens of the counties and cities that signed petitions to show thier support in keeping Taft Youth Center open. These folks know the real truth. It's hard to see what the real truth is when you never walk out of your "crystal palace" and visit places in your "kingdom". Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining. These hard working folks at Taft Youth Center are tired of being lied to.
Just as someone else said in a comment on a story about Taft, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease". This whole issue appears to be solely about privatization of the juvenile facilities. I for one, as a taxpayer in this state will not quietly stand by and allow my hard earned tax dollars be wasted on privately ran institutions and see that all these "wayward" youth loose a good chance at having another shot at being a productive member of society. Most of the youth in these institutions were never given a fair shake at life. In some cases these youth leave these institutions a better person because of the hard working staff members that have been charged with trying to make a difference in their lives. I challenge everyone who reads these posts, and believes that someone who has made mistakes in their lives can change if given the opportunity to stand up for what is right and let Commissioner O'Day and Deputy Commissioner Dawson know that with a little dedication and perseverance the underdogs can and will stand up, fight, and win. To quote someone I know that I will leave anonymous, "NO MAN STANDS AS TALL, AS ONE WHO STOOPS TO HELP A CHILD"
To be exact about O'Day's salary it's $12,700 a month and Deputy Commish Dawson is $9,144 a month. This is all public knowledge found at the following https://apps.tn.gov/salary/Default.aspx I think that if the state of Tennessee wants to save some money start at the top of the chain and cut where it will not be detrimental to rural Tennessee, meaning $12,000 and $9,000 a month just don't add up for salaries of someone that sits in an office all day and won't come out and really see what's going on at Taft. Why pay someone that much a month that apparentley knows little to nothing about the institutions they are in charge of????