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Justice Services Announces Diversion Services Program Manager

The newly formed Justice Services Department continues to take shape with the hiring of a Diversion Services Program Manager, a critical role for the delivery of many of the County’s resources aimed at helping those directly involved with the criminal justice system. Director Tiffany Iheanacho has tapped Sala Menaya-Merritt for this important position. “Sala really stood out during the interview process,” notes Tiffany. “Her human service program management and criminal justice experience will be an amazing asset in leading our diversion programs. Sala will be a great addition to Justice Services and Buncombe County.”

In her role as Diversion Services Program Manager, Sala will oversee the Justice Resource Center including three diversion programs and four treatment courts. Additionally, she will collaborate with RHA Health Services to ensure successful outcomes from jail and prison reentry programs.

Sala comes to Buncombe County from Asheville’s YWCA where she spent nearly three years working as its Chief Program Officer. She has 25 years of experience working in the field of Human Services and Community Development having gained significant industry experience working for Los Angeles, the DOJ for Louisiana, and Savannah, GA. “It is both an honor and a privilege to be chosen for this important role within Buncombe County. I am excited to see what we can accomplish as a team and the positive impact we can have on our community as a whole,” says Sala.

Her first day is Oct. 5. Please welcome Sala to Buncombe County.

Professional bio

Sala A. Menaya-Merritt comes to us from the YWCA where she served as the Chief Program Officer (CPO) for approximately 2.5 years. In this capacity, she was responsible for oversight of all programs and grant writing. Sala began working in the field of Human Services and Community Development in 1995, beginning her career with the City of Los Angeles as a Project Coordinator. In this capacity, she had the opportunity to develop her training skills by overseeing the training and subsequent monitoring of the LA’s Best Afterschool program in collaboration with the State of California – Office of Child Abuse Prevention Department.

She went on to obtain a position with the City of Hemet where she served as the Director of Community Services/Community Center Supervisor. 

In 2010, Sala relocated from Southern California to Louisiana to work with the State of Louisiana’s Department of Juvenile Justice in the capacity of Training Coordinator/ACA Office Assistant

Sala became employed with the City of Savannah in 2012, obtaining the position of Project Coordinator in the Research and Budget Department. She was later promoted to the position of Organizational Development Administrator within the Human Resources Department and closed out her position with the City of Savannah in the role as the Savannah Impact Program (SIP) Director within the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. In this role she was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the SIP reentry program for both adult and juvenile offenders. She also directed the work of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program that serves youth from the ages of 16-24. Sala had a total staff of 20 sworn and civilian staff under her leadership.