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Council extends city contract with probation service

Thomson City Council extended CSRA Probation Services' city court contract for three years, through February 2014.

Client Management Services, a Thomson company, also vied for the contract.

The council made the decision at its March 10 meeting.

Teresa Harrison McClellan of Client Management Services stated the case for her company, based at 209 Main St. She said information can be exchanged more quickly between the court and her local company. She said the firm would have a maximum caseload of 240, so counselors could spend more time with clients, discuss their needs, and help them complete probation faster.

McClellan said her agency charges each offender $25 per month, instead of the $35 charged by CSRA. She said that saves clients $120 over the one-year probation.

"We're able to provide a lower fee because we're a smaller company," she said. "We have low overhead."

She also promised a seamless transition between CSRA and her firm.

Mike Popplewell, representing CSRA, addressed the council first and introduced three local staff members.

"Over the past five years I think we've really done a good job with the city of Thomson," he said.

"We have a good relationship with the police department."

Popplewell said his agency serves 55 courts, including 22 municipal courts.

He said he is active in organizations that are rewriting probation policy, including drug courts and accountability courts.

He said a good probation program can help reduce jail expenses.

The council voted 4-0 to retain CSRA.

McClellan said her company will seek the contract again in three years.

She later told The McDuffie Mirror that she had made an effective presentation and was surprised by the council's decision.

McClellan said her company has been in business five years and she brings 19 years' experience to the business.

The company has contracts with McDuffie County Probate Court, Columbia County Probate Court, Warren County Probate Court and Warrenton Municipal Court.

Web posted on Thursday, March 17, 2011

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