The U.S. Probation Officers Advisory Group (POAG) is established by the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) to assist the Commission in carrying out its statutory responsibilities under the Sentencing Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. 994(o), and to represent U.S. Probation Officers (USPOs) in the area of sentencing.
Priorities and Scope
POAG shall report to the Commission their observations on the operation of the sentencing guidelines, any proposed amendments, and other sentencing issues. POAG will provide feedback and disseminate information regarding sentencing issues to USPOs.
POAG consists of:
One representative from each judicial circuit who will represent his/her circuit at Advisory Group meetings;
One representative from the Federal Probation/Pretrial Services Officers Association (non-voting);
One representative for the Office of Probation and Pretrial Services (non-voting); and,
One representative of each district (will not vote or attend POAG meetings).
Term of Members
The term for members shall be five years (or at least ten POAG meetings, in the event POAG is not convened by the USSC for any length of time). A member’s term may be extended if needed to provide continuity for the group. In the event that the circuit representative relocates to another circuit, he/she will vacate the position in the group and another circuit representative will be selected.
Selection Process for Circuit Representatives
When a circuit representative position becomes vacated, the USSC will notify each Chief Probation Officer in the circuit regarding the opening. Candidates will submit a resume listing qualifications for serving on POAG to the USSC. The candidate should be assigned to a presentence unit or be a guideline specialist in the district. Whenever possible, the circuit representative position will be rotated among the various district offices within the circuit.
The circuit representative will be selected by the USSC.
Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson
Circuit representatives interested in the positions of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson shall submit a letter of interest to the USSC. The Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson will be appointed by the USSC and serve a term of four years. These terms may be extended if needed, as determined by the USSC. The outgoing Chairperson will remain on the group for a one year period to assist the new Chairperson in their duties.
Duties of the Chairperson
- Preside at POAG meetings and collaborate with USSC staff in the development of meeting agendas;
- Serve as the liaison to the USSC and communicate with all members of POAG when necessary;
- Attend or designate an alternate for Commission meetings and other special briefings held by the Commission;
- Survey USPOs on related sentencing issues through circuit and district representatives;
- Assist USSC in planning the probation officers session of the annual National Sentencing Guideline training;
- Responsible for writing and finalizing position papers or other documents submitted to the USSC.
Duties of the Vice-Chairperson
- Preside at POAG meetings in the absence of the Chairperson;
- Responsible for writing and maintaining the accuracy of meeting minutes;
- Perform any other duties deemed appropriate by the Chairperson or the USSC.
Duties of Circuit Representatives
- Represent his/her circuit’s position at POAG meetings and telephone conferences;
- It is expected that each circuit representative will record minutes of at least two POAG meetings and assist the Chairperson in writing portions of the position papers when asked;
- It is expected that each circuit representative will review material and be prepared to discuss, in detail, their circuit’s response to various proposed amendments and sentencing issues at POAG’s meetings;
- If a circuit representative is unable to attend a POAG meeting, either a former circuit representative or district representative in that circuit should be asked to attend. This alternate decision will be made by the circuit representative in consultation with the Chairperson and USSC;
- It is expected that a circuit representative will share information from POAG position papers with their respective district representatives which will then be disseminated to the field.
A simple majority vote of all members present shall determine POAG’s position on various issues.
All circuit representatives have voting rights at POAG meetings.
The Chairperson may form committees as needed.
POAG meetings will be held in Washington, D.C. and funded by the USSC. If possible, there shall be at least one meeting per year, while there is a quorum of commissioners. Telephone conferences will be scheduled at the direction of the USSC.
The Chairperson shall designate one or more circuit representatives to record the minutes of POAG meetings/telephone conferences. The minutes of said meetings and the various position papers written by POAG shall be posted on POAG’s site on the USSC’s website. Prior to distribution, the Chairperson shall review and approve the minutes.