LaDonna Harris, who took the helm of the Alameda County Probation Department after sexual harassment allegations pushed the former chief out, has been named to the position permanently.
She is one of three new appointments, including Public Defender Brendon Woods and an interim registrar of voters, Tim Dupuis, who will also serve as interim information technology director.
Harris beamed after Alameda County supervisors made her title official Tuesday during the regular board meeting.
"The work is kind of infectious," she said Wednesday. "It gets in your blood."
Harris spent 29 years with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and had risen to division commander of jails before retiring in 2011. She returned in March 2012 as acting probation chief at the request of the county, which was faced with a sexual harassment lawsuit against then-Chief Probation Officer David Muhammad.
Calling Harris a role model for the youth she works with, Supervisor Nate Miley praised her for helping the department move forward in the face of many challenges, including the lawsuit, prison realignment and budget cuts. "I am proud of her professionalism and its apparent morale boost to the department," he said.
Harris is responsible for overseeing 18,000 youth and adult probationers, as well as a wide range of programs and services provided by the department. She said she wants to focus on developing leaders among her staff of 600, refining the reforms already set in place and improving the strategy for dealing with adult and juvenile realignment.
In the Alameda County Public Defender's Office, Woods will replace Diane Bellas, who held the top post for more than a decade. His appointment is effective Dec. 17.
He will head the second oldest public defender's office in the nation, now a sprawling department with five field offices that handle more than 4,500 new cases every month.
Woods said his top goal is to quell the impression among many, that the Public Defender's Office is a last resort for poor criminal defendants.
"Public defenders' offices have a reputation where people think of them as a place to go when you cannot afford a good attorney, I want to change that perspective," Woods said. "The goal of the office isn't to provide adequate representation, it is to provide excellent representation."
A 16-year veteran of the department where he served as senior assistant public defender under Bellas, he will oversee more than 100 attorneys, 20 field investigators and scores of support staff.
"We are very pleased he is going to head up the office that he has pretty much grown up in since finishing law school," Miley said.
Also beginning Dec. 17, Dupuis will take over the dual role of interim director of information technology and registrar of voters. He takes the place of Dave Macdonald, who is retiring.
As chief technology officer since 2000, Dupuis, helped develop the county's first mobile applications and established a smartphone-friendly Web portal on Alameda County's website.
He worked closely with Macdonald on two award-winning projects that streamlined Registrar of Voters operations.
He also spearheaded Alameda County's first civic app challenge, happening Saturday, which capitalizes on the county's growing public database.
Now he plans to move forward with those efforts by expanding mobile platforms and the use of technology through the county administration.
Dupuis said the pairing of IT with the registrar's office has been a good one.
"I'm pretty proud of the things we've done," he said.