Thursday, November 02, 2000

Snowden's new job draws judge's fire

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County's former chief probation officer got a new job last week, and at least one of his old bosses isn't happy about it.

        Michael Snowden said Wednesday he has accepted a job with A.T. Hudson & Co., the firm the county hired last year to do a $600,000 study of the probation department.

        The New Jersey-based company studies efficiency and productivity for public agencies. The county hired the firm last year to examine the probation department shortly after Mr. Snowden became chief.

        Mr. Snowden resigned this summer after a dispute with probation officers and some judges over changes he was making.

        Many of those changes were recommended by the study.

        Mr. Snowden, who also is a former Cincinnati police chief, said his new job will not involve work with the probation department. He said he will be a liaison between the company and police agencies around the country.

        “It's a good opportunity,” Mr. Snowden said. “I don't know why anybody would be upset about it.”

        But Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman said Mr. Snowden's new job suggests he might have been too close to the company while working for the county.

        “What a conflict of interest,” said Judge Ruehlman, who was among the judges who opposed Mr. Snowden's changes. “He signs our probation department up to do this study, and that's when the problems started.”

        Mr. Snowden said he never considered working for the company when he was employed by the county, and did not discuss job opportunities with the firm until two months after he left the probation department.

        A.T. Hudson officials did not return phone calls Wednesday.


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