Santa Barbara County Probation Chief Lupe Rabago was placed on administrative leave Monday following a months-long performance review. The disciplinary action comes after criminal justice advocates calling for alternative sentencing complained Rabago appeared inattentive to such efforts.
Santa Barbara Superior Court CEO Darrel Parker, who has overseen the process, said the complaints against Rabago were not criminal in nature, but he declined to comment on specific reasons for the temporary removal. “This has really been an evaluation of the chief’s performance,” he said. The court “recently received a report that precipitated this action” and “felt it was necessary to take administrative action at this point.”
Parker explained Santa Barbara County is somewhat unique in that the judges hold the hiring and firing authority over the probation chief rather than the Board of Supervisors. Parker said he has kept county officials apprised of the process. “This should not be a surprise to the county,” he said. Parker said a final decision would be made in the coming weeks.
Rabago, who was brought on two years ago, has more than 20 years’ experience in the field. He had recently served as the interim chief in Imperial after serving as number two there for three years. Multiple county sources here confirmed the disciplinary action was a result of his general lack of administrative effectiveness. Rabago could not be reached for comment.
In the meantime, former probation chief Beverly Taylor will serve as acting probation chief.