Now it appears even those convicted of lesser crimes are at risk.
A commenter brings news of an internal memo that "was sent Monday at 5:01 PM and revised at 6! Info is due Wednesday! (Try getting old court records that show your case was dismissed in 24 hrs!)" writes our frustrated correspondent. Here's the relevant portion of the text:
If you have ever been arrested, indicted, or received other official notification that you have been charged with a crime which includes Felonies, Class A, or B misdemeanors, you must report these to Karen Collins Giles, Director of Human Resource Management by 4:00 on Wednesday, April 4, 2007. Secondly, you must also report any change in the status of any criminal charge against you (e.g., dismissal, conviction, the initiation or termination of proceedings to revoke probation, etc.)My question: We knew the dictum about felonies was coming, but since when did A and B misdemeanors get into the mix? Is anybody allowed to have made a mistake in their life and still qualify for the crappy, underpaid, undertrained, unsafe jobs TYC has to offer?
If Kimbrough doesn't intend to fire those with misdemeanor convictions, why have them all report? This memo leaves the impression TYC's new conservator doesn't care about alienating his employees, but he'll soon discover that's a mistake. With turnover already at a ridiculous level (about 50% annually agency wide), the truth is the state desperately needs a critical mass of veterans with institutional memory to stay on and help fix things.
A better solution IMO, would be that advocated in HB 3521 by Bolton, restricting offenders (misdemeanor AND felony) who committed crimes against children, but not necessarily other types of crimes. It was an overreaction to hysteria IMO to target reformed felons indiscriminately at TYC for ouster, but the 102 employees affected make up just 2% of the agency's employees. It begins to look like a much wider "witch hunt," as our correspondent called it, when they target those with misdemeanors, too. This memo will certainly affect a lot more than 2% of the agency's workforce.
UPDATE: The more I think about this memo, one other thing doesn't make sense: What's with the self reporting? If I were running TYC I'd tell the HR department to simply run thorough criminal background checks on everyone (or better, ask DPS to do it), then discretely call in those affected one by one. One of the only reasons I can imagine for asking people to self-report misdemeanors in such a cattle-call like fashion would be to later run the background checks and nail people for lying who didn't divulge old offenses.
This is potentially treacherous ground, so I'd encourage all TYC employees affected to answer truthfully about misdemeanor convictions. I can imagine a situtation where an omission gives cause for termination, where a past offense admitted might not. I say that because if they're not playing "gotcha," I'd think they'd just run criminal histories without creating an agency-wide disturbance.
Another possibility, one I'm willing to concede as plausible, is that management doesn't know what it's doing. If that's the case, time will tell.