Quick Takes

Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice commissioner resigns effective Jan. 1

By: - November 16, 2023 1:41 pm

Vicki Reed, right, is stepping down as commissioner of Juvenile Justice. Reed and Kerry Harvey, secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, spoke to lawmakers in May. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Jamie Lucke)

Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Vicki Reed has resigned, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday. 

Beshear, who will begin his second term Dec. 12, also announced that Jeremy Slinker, director of Kentucky Emergency Management, is leaving the administration to take a job with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Reed, who has been the target of criticism from Republican lawmakers, is resigning effective Jan. 1. Beshear said his administration is now hiring for her job. 

“We appreciate all her efforts and pushing through pre-existing challenges and helping us make some of the most significant changes since the creation of DJJ,” Beshear said. “I know it hasn’t been easy for Vicki Reed to push through but every day, she’s shown up and tried to do her best and I’m grateful for that.” 

Reed’s resignation comes as the DJJ system in Kentucky has faced persistent staffing issues and controversies surrounding how children act and are treated within the system. Republican lawmakers have pressed for Beshear to replace Reed.

In her Nov. 14 letter of resignation to Beshear, Reed said: “It has been a tremendous honor to serve as commissioner in your administration. I thank you for granting me the opportunity and for your support during my term. While I am excited to step into a new chapter of my life, I will miss working with the professionals who are passionate about this important work we do.”

Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey issued this statement: “Commissioner Vicki Reed’s vast experience in juvenile justice matters and her complete commitment to the youth in the Department of Juvenile Justice’s care have been vital in implementing long overdue positive changes in the department. Our youth and staff were fortunate to have her leadership and we appreciate her service to the commonwealth. Under Commissioner Reed’s leadership, our juvenile facilities are safer now than ever before. We wish her the best of luck in her retirement.”

Morgan Hall, communications director for the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, said the search has has begun for a new commissioner and interested candidates should be apply at this link. 

At his weekly media briefing on Thursday, Beshear announced other open unclassified positions and a website —jointeamky.ky.gov  to find out more information about them.

 Those jobs include the director of emergency management; commissioner of workforce development; inspector general for the Finance and Administration Cabinet; commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice; executive director of the Office of Policy and Audit for the Finance and Administration Cabinet; executive director, Office of Inspector General for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and executive director of the Early Childcare Advisory Council.


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.