WRAL Investigates

Probation official warned twice before demotion

Posted September 11, 2009

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— A Wake County probation supervisor who was demoted last year during a shake-up in the state's probation system was warned twice previously about her job performance and conduct, WRAL News has learned.

Cindy Faison recently settled with the state Department of Correction over her challenge to the demotion and was reinstated to the position of chief probation and parole officer and awarded back. She now works in Johnston County.

Eleven managers in the Division of Community Corrections, including Faison, were transferred, demoted or retired last year during a state review of the agency's operations that was prompted by the slayings of two area college students.

Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato was shot and killed in his Durham apartment on Jan. 18, 2008, and Eve Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, was robbed, shot and dumped on a street near the Chapel Hill campus on March 5, 2008.

Police charged Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. with murder in both cases, and they charged Demario James Atwater in Carson's slaying. Both were on probation at the time of the shootings, but probation officers didn't follow up on their cases.

Faison supervised the probation officers in charge of Atwater's file. An internal review found that Faison flagged problems with Atwater's supervision several times but that his case was basically untouched for 13 months after March 2006.

"The investigation revealed that you did not offer direction and guidance to (the probation officer) as was needed so that effective case management and effective job performance could be achieved," Robert Guy, former director of the Division of Community Corrections, said in a July 31, 2008, letter to Faison. "You should have done case reviews in the month they were due, made certain that all issues involving any cases were resolved by him within the required time frame and ensured that policy was followed in the supervision of offenders."

Guy noted in the letter that Faison received a written warning in April 2007 for poor job performance and a second written warning a month later for unacceptable personal conduct.

Faison told her managers that she thought Atwater's file had been transferred to Durham County, but they noted that she never followed up with Durham probation officials about it, according to Guy's letter.

A second probation supervisor who was recently reinstated after challenging her demotion also was warned about poor job performance, according to an Aug. 1, 2008, letter from Guy.

Cheryl Morris regained her job as a chief probation and parole officer in Durham County following a settlement with the Department of Correction.

Morris fought her demotion because of a 2006 illness that required chemotherapy, contending she was never provided any relief from her workload.

Internal committees in the Department of Correction upheld the decision to demote both women last summer.

Despite assurances of government transparency by Gov. Beverly Perdue and Correction Secretary Alvin Keller, the department won't disclose the reasons behind the reinstatements.

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  • ladyblue Sep 11, 2009

    Cindy Faison recently settled with the state Department of Correction over her challenge to the demotion and was reinstated to the position of chief probation and parole officer and awarded back. She now works in Johnston County.

    thanks tht is all johnston county needs. A probation officer that apparently wasn't good enough for wake couty. thanks NC

  • concernedincary Sep 11, 2009

    As a former Wake County probation officer, I too, left the job after several years. Why? Because the pay stunk and I supervised 120 cases. I worked harder than the teachers and received a $500 bonus....once. We were overlooked every time for raises because who wanted to raise the salary of someone in corrections? So, don't always blame the POS. Learn from the lessons learned. Put money in corrections, pay the officers, and lessen their caseloads. I dare anyone to try and sueprvise 120 people and not allow a case to slip through the crack. Go ahead and cast the first stone.

  • james27613 Sep 11, 2009

    These two men that killed know how the system works, that is how they beat it and make it work for them.

    Time to get tough on firearm crime!

    you use a firearm in any crime, you get 12 years solid time, no probation, no early release, no plea or deals, just the time in addition to the other time you get for other violations.
    Time will run consecutive not concurrent.

    Is the NC Legislature ready to put a bill on the Gov. desk ?

  • james27613 Sep 11, 2009

    I agree that Chemotherapy is serious, however, it is NO EXCUSE to not do the job you are paid to do. Paid or unpaid leave is the correct solution for a person on chemo.

    ....
    Morris fought her demotion because of a 2006 illness that required chemotherapy, contending she was never provided any relief from her workload.

  • gammasandi Sep 11, 2009

    just another example of "making it look good on paper"...as a former employee of the probation department in Mecklenburg county, I find this true to form...when is the public going to wake up and clean up the judicial cesspool in NC? I hope the two deceased victims' families will demand justice and findings of facts as to exactly what happened in this case.

  • mac5535 Sep 11, 2009

    Probation and parole a place where politics is more important than getting the job done properly. It has been like this for 30 years.
    It is who you know.
    I think an investigation should be done on this one.

  • shadow315 Sep 11, 2009

    They should be fired.

    Who exactly gave them new jobs? They should be fired too.

    Just common sense.

  • sanacito Sep 11, 2009

    It is because of cases like this and others that I am now a former probation officer in Wake County. I have firsthand knowledge of cases like these (which have never seen the light of day outside of the probation department). I saw so many of these instances that it made me sick. And when I said something, nobody on a supervisory level listened ( a number of which were featured during news articles last year related to these two probationers).
    I didn't like my job, I loved my job. On more than one ocassion I was told by my superiors that I was making others look bad because of the effort and dedication that I was showing.
    So what is happening here is absolutely nothing new. Sadly, it is entrenched. I wish that I could offer some sort of reassurance but I don't believe that this problem is going to get any better in the immediate future.

  • colliedave Sep 11, 2009

    Despite assurances of government transparency by Gov. Beverly Perdue and Correction Secretary Alvin Keller, the department won't disclose the reasons behind the reinstatements

    I wonder why?

  • tot42 Sep 11, 2009

    issues like these will never cease to be problem until the state totally re-structures its corrections system. when DOC starts promoting based on the best for the job, instead of "other reasons" maybe it will turn around. DOC hasn't been worth a darn since Martin was Governor

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