County fires drug court administrator

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Shelby County’s drug court administrator was fired by the county recently due to &uot;poor performance,&uot; according to County Manager Alex Dudchock.

Luke Powell oversaw the drug court at the Shelby County Courthouse.

Shelby County is one of the few counties in the state to administer a separate court for drug-related crimes.

According to Dudchock, Powell reported directly to Reggie Holloway, manager of community services for Shelby County.

In turn, Holloway reported to Dudchock.

In the end, Dudchock said he was the one who made the final call to fire Powell due to what he called &uot;poor performance.&uot;

Dudchock said Powell worked as an at-will employee, unlike other county government staff. At-will employees are not subject to termination procedures of government employees.

Shelby County’s drug court began with a $60,000 commitment from the county commission in April 2002, followed by another $120,000 in 2003.

The program targets small-time drug offenders and focuses on treatment rather than incarceration to treat drug use and addiction.

The program has been touted by county officials for reducing the county jail population and for helping offenders to quit using drugs.

The drug court is led by Judge Michael Joiner.

Staff from the sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office also work in the drug court, along with public defenders, work release officials and physicians from Chilton-Shelby Mental Health Center.

Powell previously worked for Jefferson County drug court and has been part of the University of Alabama’s TASC Force (Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime).

During drug court dates, Powell reported to Joiner about offenders’ progress and status.

At presstime, no replacement had been hired for the drug court administrator position