by: Richard Belcher Updated:
ATLANTA,None - Channel 2 Action News has learned that the head of the State Department of Juvenile Justice is leaving the agency and taking a less influential position in another state agency.
In recent weeks, Channel 2's Richard Belcher raised questions about commissioner Amy Howell's vehicle allowance and rising violence in some youth detention centers.
Howell moves from commissioner at the State Department of Juvenile Justice to the legal counsel's office at the State Department of Behavioral Health. Belcher noted the move has all the earmarks of a firing, especially after just nine months on the job, but at least one source told him Howell was not fired.
Belcher caught up with the commissioner at what turned out to be her last juvenile justice board meeting last month. Days before, Channel 2 broke the story that Howell reimbursed the state $4100 for a nearly $600 a month car allowance which she took without the approval from the Governor's office.
Howell was receiving the car allowance while she had a brand new Dodge Charger at her disposal at the State Department of Juvenile Justice.
Belcher also discovered that youth-on-youth violence in state detention centers has been far higher than state officials wanted since July 1.
Howell was the first woman to head up the department. Belcher's sources said the official announcement of her departure and the new job elsewhere is expected as early as Monday.