Sunday, February 28, 2016

Kriseman appoints Kenny Irby youth Intervention Director

Irby will be reporting directly to Police Chief Antony Holloway.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

 Kenny Irby to the new position of Intervention Director.
As part of the St. Pete Mayor's plan to address gun violence and ongoing youth problems in South St. Pete, Mayor Kriseman has appointed a former Poynter Institute faculty member

Irby will serve as the "primary liaison" between City Hall and residents in the search for saving at-risk youth, according to a job description.

More details in the Tampa Bay Times article by Charlie Frago City hires Irby to curb youth violence

Irby does not arrive without some controversy. See Maynard Institute and Richard Prince's Journal-isms Fallout Over a Dismissal at Poynter

With the job description and an interesting organizational twist, Irby will be reporting directly to Police Chief Antony Holloway.

Given that the Police and Police relations are a central part of the south side youth problem this would seem like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

If the real emphasis of the job were "primary liaison between City Hall and residents in the search for saving at-risk youth," placing Deputy Mayor Tomalin directly into the reporting chain, would have been a good idea.

Kriseman needs to be careful not to turn his back on the South St. Pete's youth problem leaving the issue up to Holloway, Irby and Assistant Chief Luke Williams while he focuses on those things he likes: Rays Baseball, tearing down old buildings and spending lots of money on downtown.

Irby comes with some credentials but not a lot. He does, according to the Maynard Institute piece, come with some attitude.

There is a lot at stake here. Kriseman and Holloway need to make sure old alliances in the police department do not get rekindled resulting in a restart of the internal racial issues Holloway has been working so hard to resolve.

On the surface, this is a good start, but there are some concerns. Irby's faith-based relationships while certainly beneficial are not part of the job responsibility. Who will he really be working for?

There are many people in south St. Pete that may not share Irby's religious convictions, but who want to be a part of solving the youth problem, and Kenny Irby will need to play well with others.

Getting good information flow from this organizational structure will be subject to the same careful information management that comes from the police department on all other matters.

In order to avoid waking up to exposé headline, Kriseman, Tomalin and City Council will need to keep their collective eyes on this effort.

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Contributor: Bob Gualtieri for Pinellas County Sheriff

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