Wednesday, June 27, 2007

TYC "State of the Agency" Briefings

Thanks to a commenter for letting me know the Texas Youth Commission Executive Director Dimitria Pope is holding a "State of the Agency Tour" to inform staff and the public what's going on at the troubled youth prison agency where an internationally publicized sex scandal led to incomplete, sometimes eviscerating reforms. The first briefing was held today already in Odessa, the next one is tomorrow in Waco, then there's another one Friday in Richardson, with later dates in Houston, Harlingen and Austin. (See the complete "tour" information and a pdf flyer.

I wrote yesterday that Texas folks who work on Restorative Justice in the juvenile field should take the opportunity of the agency's reorganization to promote some of these new ideas, and these briefings would be a good opportunity to learn more about what's going on and ask questions from the top dog and unnamed "operational staff". (I'll attend at least the one in Austin, but we're last on the list.)

If you attend one, take notes then shoot me an email describing the event and I'll update Grits readers.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you notice the meeting for TYC staff are not at TYC facilities, if your attempt is to inform the staff who work for you it would probably help if you visited them. Just a thought?

Anonymous said...

I agree, if Ms. Pope wanted to talk to her employees she should go where they are now, not where they will soon be looking for a new job. On second thought, there might be several TYC employees at the TWC looking for a job or signing up for unemployment.

Odessa said...

TYC under review
BY F.A. KRIFT
June 27, 2007 - 6:53PM
Texas Youth Commission executives confronted its frontline employees Wednesday when it kicked off a six-stop “state of the agency” tour in Odessa, and the peace offering organized by the Austin-based agency’s new executive director didn’t go without appreciation.

“I thought you people in Austin were the worst people in the world,” Lilly Ontiveros, a West Texas State School employee, said. “… I’m finding out you were in it with us, feeling the same thing we’re feeling.”

The tour, which is in Waco today, started at the closest metropolitan area to the West Texas State School, the all-male detention center that made national headlines when a statewide scandal erupted in February.

The lack of prosecution of two facility administrators in connection to sexual misconduct with teenage male inmates re-emerged in media reports and the fallout led to the sweeping agency reform signed into law in early June.

Feeling beaten down by constant investigations, disconnected from upper management and continually worried that their jobs were on the line, many employees’ moods soured amid the controversy, they said.

The attitude brightened for the 65 attending the meeting, but the reconnection to administrators doesn’t mean the West Texas State School and the Sheffield Boot Camp are safe from closure.

Currently two facilities, the Marlin orientation unit and John Shero State Juvenile Correctional Facility in San Saba, are being closed as youth facilities.

Acting Executive Director Dimitria Pope said she didn’t know if any other facilities would be shuttered. But if that decision is made, it won’t be without fully auditing every campus on an objective level with a vulnerability assessment conducted by an outside independent agency.

These assessments will be completed by November or December, Pope hoped, and they will take into account each campus’ physical plant, support system, environment, safety and security, staffing and other factors.

Then if a closure is made based on the agency’s inmate population, Pope was forthcoming with who will make the judgment.

“That final decision is going to be on Dimitria Pope’s shoulders,” she said.

Legislation mandates have reduced the agency’s youth population to 3,151 inmates. Heading into 2007, the population was about 4,000.

Administrators, specifically Pope, approached TYC employees with open arms and honesty while addressing the vast changes mandated by new state legislation as well as the sweeping reorganization Pope approved.

“I don’t know if you’ve sat in the central office or if you even know where the central office even is,” Pope said. “I wanted to bring it to the people in their territory. … At least we can limit people saying we don’t know what’s going on in TYC.”

Donna Garcia, community relations director at the West Texas State School, has felt she has been in the dark since the scandal became a talking point for every state legislator.

“We didn’t know anything,” Garcia said after the meeting.

Garcia, admittedly emotional, began to cry when she addressed the executives during the question-and-answer phase of the meeting.

The dynamic and seemingly sincere Pope walked up to her and cupped Garcia’s clasped hands, which hung over the chair in front of her.

“Hold your head up and fight with us,” Pope told Garcia.

Pope wants the TYC employees to be proud of their employers again. Wear the TYC T-shirts, she said, and don the identification badges.

Pope maintains an open-door policy and encouraged even the newest juvenile correction officers to say hello to her when they see her.

Tell her how TYC can be better, she said. Tell her staff what does and doesn’t work.

Transparency, Pope called it.

A healing process, Ontiveros said.

Anonymous said...

Well, we were told that she would be letting everyone know about how she does not know about the other facilities until an audit is done.. true to form, she did say, auditing EVERY campus on an objective level with a vulnerability assessment conducted by an outside independent agency. This will tell her the next two or three to close. Now we have to wait until the end of the year to find out.
What about Parole Officers? What did they say about them? What is their new name going to be? Service workers or Care Workers. just another name for caseworkers.
Does anyone know about Parole Officers??

Anonymous said...

The Executive Summary of the Budget for FY '08 and '09 still calls for the closing of Sheffield Boot Camp. West Texas State School and Victory Field by the end of FY '08. Sheffield is slated for closure by November. "Felling what we're feeling...? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Feeling what we are feeling, huh? Okay Ms. Pope,are you fighting for YOUR job back after a superintendent(a subordinate to YOU) was allowed to retaliate and terminate me with NO cause??Are you standing "with me" while I continue to go through the never ending "grievance" process to get my job back? Hell No you aren't!! But YOU can explain to the state why you allowed this to happen when I file a wrongful termination suit in the 6 figures next month, then you will "know how I feel" because a few cases like me...and you will be unemployed too!

Anonymous said...

These meetings could have been held at the units in question at a time when more employees could attend. The Mart unit is between Waco and Marlin. Common sense would say that if you were really interested in employees knowing what was going on the meeting would have been held there.

The letter sent out yesterday said that the good news was that there are plenty of jobs for JCO's, caseworkers and psychologists within the agency for people willing to relocate. What about EDUCATION? Isnt education one of the biggest parts of TYC?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@4:57 - Just for the record, you're correct those three facilities' closure is in the executive summary, but it turns out the summary does not accurately reflect what's in the actual budget bill (HB 1), which includes nothing about closing these facilies. The summary appears to be in error. I asked Jim Hurley point blank about it and he said the summary was incorrect, that TYC CO was relying on the budget itself, not the summary (which appears to be mistaken, said Hurley), and that no decisions have been made about future closures beyond the two that will shift to TDCJ.

No way to tell what's going on behind closed doors, but that's what he said, FWIW.

Anonymous said...

I have worked for TYC for many years. I really liked my job and I really do not want to leave. As one lawyer that worked for Tyc said and I don't really remember all the words to this song he use but here is the jest of it.
"You know when to hold them and when to fold them and there is a time to let go"
This is a card game at this point as far as keeping your job or loosing it. If we choose to wait for CO to tell us our fate or whatever they come up with as a new way, then your poker hand may not be good enough to stay in the game.
As much as I do not want to leave my education position I have to love my family more and decide what is best for us down the road.
I am not in jail and I can not see waiting for the wardens to tell me that I am released back into the the Free WORLD with out a way to support my family. They do not care about us only as a body to watch kids that are locked up. We are a dime a dozen to them and they don't lay down at night wondering if they can keep us employed to meet our basic needs in life.
If you think they are wonderful and concerned your on the wrong medication or you need medication. Personally I feel it is time to fold my hand and take my loss and get out of my chair at the table and leave the game.
I will make less money in the Free World,but I want be up at night wondering how I can pay my bills next month or if I can pay my bills next month or is today the day that they tell me I am no longer employed.
The facility that I am employed with is not on the hit list to close or reduce staff as far as we know. No one is safe at this point. No matter where you work if you are a teacher, just put the pencil to the paper and figure out how this reduction in students is going to pan out as far as the need for teachers to student ratio's. Do you think that they are going to pay these salaries for you to teach 3-4 kids in a classroom? Reduction in staff, you bet that is coming down the pike if they continue to release kids at the rate they are going now.
Very few are holding those high cards in this game of CO. Your playing a game called Texas Holdem TYC POKER! I hope we win, I am leaving TYC's game.

Anonymous said...

TYC employees need to consider the options: Either stay there and hope for the best, or leave now before the job market gets flooded with ex-TYC employees after your campus closes. If you wait too long there won't be any good jobs left, and that goes for teacher's, caseworkers, etc.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Just a thought - there aren't enough local service providers anywhere, and new money available and likely shifting downstream incarceration of youth over the next 2-5 years. Have any TYC employees considered teaming up, starting a small business or nonprofit and taking a more entrepeneurial approach to your dillemma? Just wondering? There is opportunity there, methinks. Once you're in the bidding process, you're in the game.

Anonymous said...

We were told that our next facility staff meeting was, as usual, mandatory and that what the administrators would learn from the "state of the agency" meeting would impact all of our jobs. If this is such an impact, then why can't we hear it ourselves and not second hand? Is the impact termination?

Anonymous said...

Grits, your "just a thought" has been thought of and at one time, a TYC employee had to have a period of two years away from the agency to be considered as a contract for services.

Anonymous said...

To the person wrongfully terminated. What reason did they use as for why you were terminated?

Anonymous said...

It will be up to each individual to decided how they feel about these 'briefings'. Having attended in Odessa yesterday, I have to admit I am cautiously optimistic. There was a little of that 'same old same old' TYC BS, but Ms. Pope did seem to be very open. However, we really don't trust anyone anymore, so our trust will have to be EARNED.

If, in fact, any decisions regarding future closures will be made using 'vulnerability assessments' and objective monitoring, then that's fine - as long as we are all starting on the same playing field - I am good with that. The politicians need to get out of it now. They have caused enough confusion.

On the same note though, if vulnerability assessments are to be conducted on EVERY campus (which is what I understood will be the case) if we are interested in keeping our facilities open, then it is up to us to get our #$%& together. The earlier poster is right about one thing - it is definitely time to decide whether to take a chance and stay or take a chance and go...ACA is also moving forward and it came across pretty clearly that this is 'must have' certification for all facilities - and there's not going to be much time to prepare.

Judge for yourself folks - I encourage as many of you as possible to attend. There were several very interesting comments made - I found one particularly interesting from the new HR director, Mary Wood - "I will be holding all HRAs accountable" - hmmm, I wonder - I'd be polishing up my recruitment plans if I were them...she may just mean it. Even though Eric Young tried to make it look like he is still in charge in HR - I'm not so sure.

Lets hear from the Mart and Marlin folks when you get back today - I'm interested in what you guys think.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"a TYC employee had to have a period of two years away from the agency to be considered as a contract for services"

That's astonishing - legislators leave the Texas Legislature and routinely show up as lobbyists the following session!

Does anybody know, is that a rule, or a law?

Anonymous said...

Grits -

It's discussed in GAP 111.37 under the conflict of interests section. I don't know if the policy is based on a specific law or not.

2. Contracting with a former TYC employee who has been employed by TYC during the 12 months immediately prior to contract is prohibited.

4. A person making an offer to provide private consulting services to TYC and who has been an employee of TYC or another state agency within the last two (2) years must submit the following information with his offer:

nature of the previous employment;
name of the agency;
termination date; and
annual salary while employed. If TYC accepts this person's offer, the above information must be filed in agency records and must be included in the report required by (II)(e)(4).

Anonymous said...

Grits, I have considered the non-profit and contract world for some time, but having worked in it...I'm skeptical at best! I have a handfull of EXCELLENT professionals around me and I do believe we can make a difference with youth (as we do on a daily basis), but it comes down to money and stability. Without both, it is difficult to get others on your bandwagon!

Anonymous said...

These people are unreal. Let's see now, they are going to have an objective evaluation of each facility to determine how the "hit list" is determined. I work for one of the facilities who have shown up as closing and I can tell you that I haven't sent anyone home or brought anyone here on my own lately. That is determined by someone where the power is. Neither have I "by mistake" listed my facility in several places that looked rather official as on that "hit list". However, by cleverly taking more and more students from us and seeing to it that our name was listed as slated for closure it seems that our youth numbers are way down (check the SAS reports to see who's losing the most) and our employees are wisely leaving to find employment elsewhere. That will leave us with few students and few employees and even fewer wanting to come here for employment. We were listed in the bill analysis in April (by mistake), listed as being not funded except for 1 year lately in the funding information (did I mention, by mistake), our name was listed with a closing date on a UTMB email which by the way has been accurate so far, we get an email that we are to receive 2 weeks training this July instead of the usual one followed by another email the following day trumping that one from Eric Young and some Micky Martin (I think) guy that didn't even have a TYC address (it was TDCJ), our diagnosticians attended a video conference where it was stated 10 counselors, etc. would be hired along with other key personnel and now the number shows that it's been reduced to 7 (sounds like 3 more closures to me), according to a very reliable source a high ranking CO official has mentioned that we would be in the top 5 on the list to close according to student numbers/staff numbers, etc. And, all the while, people are standing around telling us "with straight faces" that we aren't being mentioned and there is no list, etc. I wonder where teachers who have roots in their communities and had future hopes with this agency will turn when they are told in the middle of the year that they are no longer needed. Try finding a teaching position close by so you don't have to uproot your family and change all your future plans then. It isn't going to happen. Many are close to retirement but will not realistically be able to attain that goal under the circumstances. Then, have all these nice little meetings in far away places so we have to travel just to hear the same old lies. These people don't seem to have any problem coming to the facilities to evaluate us but don't want to come to let us know what's actually going on. The word cowardly comes to mind along with several others I'll not mention here. But then isn't that what's been happening all along? Someone tell me because I sure don't know, but how long does it actually take to get people to trust and believe you when this deceit has been going on as long as it has been and still is? If you could only see how physically/mentally drained the staff is? It extremely sad. I've rambled long enough, forgive me. Have a nice day!!!

Anonymous said...

You should see the requirements for contract services from outside the agency.

Remember, the most services (like drug and alcohol counseling) are contracted with LCDC's, LPC's, LCSW, etc...not always with psychologists or psychiartists.

whitsfoe said...

Henson, it may be policy but it's not followed. Consider when the former ACA accrediations coordinator retired. He came back on a contract for about 3-4 months to train his replacement.

Anonymous said...

Dimitria Pope wants TYC employees to be proud of their employers again? Be proud of employers who have systematically dismantled our agency, stripped it of most of its competent juvenile justice professionals and imported their friends to fill all key positions? Be proud of employers who use fear, intimidation and retaliation to silence anyone who dares to disagree with them? Be proud of employers who come from one of the most corrupt agencies in Texas and have been involved in their own sex scandals and cover ups? Be proud of employers who make policy and then change it arbitrarily when they find it has a negative affect on one of their "chosen ones"?

I would be proud of an employer who is an experienced professional in juvenile justice. I would be proud of an employer who is ethical, open and honest. I would be proud of an employer who actually gave a damn about me, my family and my job. I would be proud of an employer who would look me in the eye and tell me the truth for a change.

It's not too much to ask.

JoJo the dogfaced boy said...

Anybody read the article that shows Will Harrell was taken to task by the legislators who created his office? Heh heh...

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/06/28/0628tyc.html

Anonymous said...

Hey 5:34,

Just so you know who I am:

The piggy is happy in the pen!

I'm going to the meeting in Richardson tommorrow with the sheer point of finding the truth: being lied too, seeing the difference, knowing the difference, and at least going out with the last great act of defiance!

I may not have a job when I come back but at least I'll have my pride and integrety.!!!!!

I wasn't looking for a job when they called me from VFCA but it won't hurt me to look for one now.You already know I have an interview and should get the job!

While I do not relish the idea of finding another job while explaining why I was fired for being honest and forthright I do enjoy the thought of being cleansed of this disgusting agency.

I have found the facilities to have issues but CO to be of the utmost disgusting nature!!!!!!!!!!

Central office does not believe in honesty and the articles about Ms. Pope are a bunch of crap.

I admit that some of the people I work with have serious issues. However, I must attempt to stand clear of some of the phlegm that is spittled by them and our current central office admin.

I am going with the best of intentions but am reserved to the fact that good stuff won't happen.

I believe they will try to manipulate me, lie to me , and then screw all of us. I can at least get in their face and try to get them to tell the truth for once in their meaningless life.

The problem as I see it is they don't share our morals or they don't have any. I believe the latter.

My theory is that at least I won't go down without a fight.

Diogenes said...

Regarding the question as to why these briefings are not being done at the facilities, I would remind those concerned that TYC comprises more than just the high restriction facilities with barbed wire fences. TYC also has halfway houses, parole offices, and contractors for facilities and parole. It would take over a month to visit each of these locations individually. Instead, they chose locations in the communities that allowed them to reach as many as possible in a single trip.

Another important factor to consider is community involvement. The public was and is invited to attend these meetings. The media was also invited. Holding these meetings in a high restriction facility would have created a logistical nightmare for security staff to check everyone as they entered and left the facility, in order to protect the safety of everyone and still preserve the privacy of the youths in the facility.

I believe the question regarding the location of the briefing came from a staff member or family member thereof concerned about not being able to attend the meeting. Unfortunately, you can never have everyone at a TYC location all attend a meeting because operations must continue 24/7. That being said, every effort was made to allow as many staff as possible who wanted to attend to do so as long as facility operations and security wasn't compromised. Central Office gave authorization for all employees scheduled to work during the briefing that were not immediately needed for campus operations to attend *while on the clock*. Furthermore, at least at West Texas State School, the Business Manager made arrangements for the use of state vehicles to transport any and all staff attending the meeting who did not want to use their personal vehicles. Those of us who were able to attend from WTSS made a point of taking notes of the meeting to share with those who could not come. We also made a point to ask questions of concern for our absent colleagues.

I consider the briefing I attended in Odessa a success with regards to community involvement. There were several elected officials from the community in attendance. Other stakeholders in the future of TYC were also present. Probation officers, the much overlooked part of the juvenile justice system that is being significantly impacted by the reforms of TYC, were present. Volunteers from the community also took the time to come and ask about the role they would be able to play in the TYC to come. For good or ill, several media outlets were also in attendance.

Anonymous said...

7:44, I could not agree with your statements more!! I am disgusted by this "agency" in fact, I can honestly say that I have never worked for a more poorly managed agency in all my life, and I have been in this field for quite a few years. The people that I have worked with have either tried to do the right thing and were brought down by people with absolutely NO integrity what so ever or they were too cowardly to take a stand against administration. I am sick of a sneaky superintendent who "lures" people into her office with promises of raises, days off, and even promotions just to get what she wants....knowing all along that they will never get what they want because they will become next on her hit list after she uses them.But more than anything....I am sick to death that the so called "top" people keep letting these things happen! They are going to have a mutiny on their hands at one half-way house if they continue to let these issues go unresolved. I am looking for a new job...anything is better than what i have to work with everyday.

Rita said...

I have never heard a bigger bunch of whiners. Why actually work towards change when you can sit around and whine about how other people are screwing up? Here it is, people, you can complain about it or you can help fix it. It's your choice. Thanks, Anon at 7:51 for being a fixer.

Rita said...

Oops. I have to fix my own comment... Sorry -- I meant thanks Diogenes at 7:51...

Grace Under Fire said...

Did I hear the word "transparency" used...again? If memory serves me, Dwight Harris preached this very thing and we all know where that got us. Wallstreet Words - Cite This Source "transparency" as:
"The full, accurate, and timely disclosure of information." TYC exec. staff members are as transparent as MUD! The key question being used often is "are you on the bus or not?" What bus are you referring to? Surely it is not the bus that is driving around through a constant "muddy" river of "good 'ol boy" crap. We are all aware of people that hold key positions and wonder "how did they get that position?" Some of these people can't even compose an email using the correct grammar!! If the only persons applying for a position are blundering idiots or people from TDCJ, does that mean that TYC has to decide which idiot they want to hold that position? No, it means that DP gets to appoint the idiot that she wants into a position! TYC is an Equal Opportunity Employer? What an oxymoron. This has been proven recently when criminal records were overlooked in choosing a person for the position of Ombudsman for TYC.
"Hold your head up and fight with us" How can they when the employees that are left don't know what is going on and the good hard working established staff were terminated for indiscretions made many, many years ago?
I am very fortunate that I was able to be on a bus that took me as far away from anything remotely resembling a TYC run facility as possible! It makes me sick to think of the people that I worked with being left in the cesspool that our Governor, Legislators, JK, EO, and DP helped create. These people don't seem to care what they are doing to the employees of TYC as long as none of the shit lands on their shoes!!

Anonymous said...

to 7:51 and 9:19....so you think you have the answers do you? Be positive??? Try READING the LBB fiscal notes and TYC's recent executive summary...and then show me your optimism. If you believe the lies you are hearing , then I'd say you are more GULLIBLE than you are optimistic. Your Pollyanna attitude makes me wonder what planet you are on.

Anonymous said...

The State Of The Agency meetings held by TYC are in jeopardy of turning into emotional "CryFests","apologetic hugs,and hokey, warm and fuzzy sessions.Ms.Pope is just another bureaucrat engaging in "spin"just as the previous "leadership"were doing.The remaining department heads should do themselves and the agency a favor and resign.As long as these holdovers remain,TYC employees can expect more of the same.They`re only making themselves appear concerned so as to keep their jobs.And making themselves look good in front of the new folks running the agency.Ms.Pope should visit the facilities and the district offices to see first hand the hostile working conditions that supervisors refuse to address.

Anonymous said...

I know the person referring to himself as "Diogenes" must see the irony of being accused of having a "Polyanna" attitude. In his defense, (and I say 'his' because I'm pretty sure I know who it is.) He was simply trying to give some correct information. I appreciate Mr. Henson providing this forum for venting frustration, but none of the complaining is going to feed our families. Complain all you want, but ultimately everyone has to make it work, or go find a job elsewhere. And to that end, I wish everyone the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

"Ms.Pope should visit the facilities and the district offices to see first hand the hostile working conditions that supervisors refuse to address."

Or just read all the comments on this blog over the last three months. It's all here.

Anonymous said...

FYI... Another TDCJ in a Director's Position!! What a Surprise.


Please join us in welcoming Mary Wood as the agency's new Director of Human Resource Management.

Mary brings years of valuable HR experience to our agency,

having been in human resources at TDCJ for nearly 23 years.

For the last eight years, Mary was Section Director of Employee Services and Staff Development at TDCJ.

She recently earned her MBA in Finance in 2006, after having raised her children and while working full time at TDCJ.

We are pleased to welcome her and look forward to her

fresh and knowledgeable


approach to human resources.

Anonymous said...

Oh geez, not another "get on the bus" propaganda campaign! Aren't those "buses" in the junk yard yet?

Let's see, the bus going to the promise land or the one on the highway to hell?

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Donna Garcia,

You might want to save some of those tears for when Dimitria closes West Texas. You'll need them. If you look at the Northwest Region on the map in your handouts, doesn't it appear odd to you that both of the other regions have three less facilities than the NW? Close Sheffield, West Texas and Vernon and magically all the regions are equal. Wake up!

Anonymous said...

Rita,

How do you expect to hear anything with your "Hotel" firmly inserted into your "Alpha"?

Anonymous said...

Your what inserted in your what? Isn't that the same thing as cranial rectafusion? Sounds like it...is that another fixer for Rita?

Anonymous said...

Dear amonymous @8:56...
Believe me, those are only a few of my tears shed...we don't really trust ANYONE anymore except ourselves...so don't even try to insinuate stupidity or gullibility on the part of West Texas Staff. We got the smarts real good out here!

I hate it when people, especially other TYC staff, tell us 'we know how you feel'. No you don't. You can never know how we feel unless you were here with us. It was insinuated by legislators, other TYC staff and media that we all knew what Brookins was doing and just sat back and did nothing while he was doing it...we are the 'infamous' WTSS. Well let me assure you, no one around here sat back and just let anything happen. No one would listen to us. So before you make fun of our tears, try thinking about their source. I can tell you that this fiasco with TYC and the Brookins/Hernandez 'scandal' has scarred me for life - I will never be the same. My trust for my fellow man is gone. I'm sad most of the time and if were not for the support of my friends and family and the people who work alongside me each day - I would not have made it this far...so go ahead and pass judgement on my tears - I'm used to it. Go ahead and blame WTSS staff if it makes you feel better - we're used to it. Just be thankful is wasn't you, because it could have been or scarier yet, could still be.

Don't feel like you need to warn us about 'waking up'...we've been awake and preparing to fight the closing of this facility to the end. And if in the end, we close, then at least we put up the fight.

The regional map is not suprising to us...we expected something like that to come out. We are perfectly aware that Senators Whitmire and Hinojosa want us closed. But it doesn't change the fact that we will not just lay down and give up. Negativity is easy. Its the other one that's hard. We're not whiners - we just don't have the time to waste.

Just one more thing...if you haven't attended your meeting yet, I highly suggest you get there if you can - there is alot being said without actually being said. And folks, I don't think ANYONE is safe from closure - except maybe Brownwood and Giddings - MAYBE. You have to listen carefully or you'll miss information and I highly suggest you take good notes for later review. And on that note, I am done.

Integrity - inspiring others by the courage of your example.
D.G.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there DG. If they want that 1:12 ratio, they'll see how difficult it'll be and keep WTSS and Vernon alive as smaller facilities by fewer kids. The reason for all the uncertainty is the fact we don't know what the judges out there are going to do with these misdemeanors. Many counties out there in the West regions don't have the funds to take them on. I firmly believe WTSS and VFCA's status will be determined by their response. The Texas Juvenile Probation Commission asked for 57 million for this very issue. That's not going to cut it for as many kids that they used to send us. They needed around 73 million if you take a low ball estimate of 100.00 a day per kid. There's a big difference.

Anonymous said...

Oh and folks, those that are worried about not seeing you facilities funded in FY08, they can always go back to the ledge and ask for emergency appropriations.

Anonymous said...

Rita, my subservient and loyal Orc,

Please do not fear the wrath of men, elves or dwarves!

I, Pope Sauron, shall vanquish them with my Nazgul.

Because there are only 9 rings of power I must first devour 5 of the kings and eat the flesh of their loyal soldiers as a Hobbit devours Elvin bread. This shall return all the power to myself, with great lords of men in shadowy power to rule as my minions or superintendents.

Two of these bothersome kings have already fallen and I am encircling 3 more as we speak.

SHHH, do not tell them of my plans.

They are simple plans!

I shall leak to them that I am going to devour them. Then not. Then so. Then not. Then so, until they are so confused and distraught they fight among themselves and bring about their own destruction.

Some of the elves and men will sail away but a few will stay to fight. These creatures shall feel the anguish of step 2 and 3 of my plan.

I shall invite those that are still of strength and mind of suspicion to far off lands, (“State of TYC Earth” briefings) to gaze upon them and cast my strongest spell. I shall bring with me my minions of deceit and loyal Orcs to salt their legions with those that will bow to the one true ring.

I shall blame them that were of no knowledge for what has happened and what will happen. The ring of power shall make them submit.

Finally, for those that have not submitted by this time, I shall invite them to my lair in Austin. Once in my strongest dominion, Mordor, I shall invite them in to view the committee fires of Mount Doom.

I shall ply them with smiles, bread, coffee and comfort, but no mileage or per diem, of course.

If they submit at this point, I shall torture them even more by anointing them into my continued employ. While in my employ they will be lulled into a false sense of security, and then and only then, I shall cast them into the pit of committee membership hell with the false promise of respect for their opinions and grandiose treatment.

The ones that have not submitted to me or awaken from my ring-induced trance shall be banished from the land of TYC Earth.

Forever, they will walk among and live with people that respect them. How I pity these fools. They will be free from the Nazgul, but I will be from them and shall reign over TYC Earth with impunity to pull policies and procedures from the Nether regions of my domain.

Do not fret my little orc Rita. You have the favorite traits of my most trusted minions. I shall protect and repay your loyalty with grants of power and a lifetime supply of Chap Stick.

Pick up the purchase order tomorrow. Remember, NO mileage or per diem will be paid. I need the money for my plane ticket to the next “State of TYC Earth” briefing.

You will be welcomed into the new kingdom of "Middle TDCJ" and placed at my side to rule the kingdom of "Rudi-ism".

I Pope Sauron have spoken.

P.S. I think I need to go to the store and get a morning after pill. I believe I’ve been pontificated. Yuuuuck!

Anonymous said...

Okay...I give up....who the hell is RITA????????

Anonymous said...

Oh, she's lovely. She's a meter maid by trade, I think.

Anonymous said...

Chap lipped Rita is poster 9:19.

Anonymous said...

Hey ...to anyone who attended the TYC Agency briefing in Richardson yesterday? How was it? I am dying to know!!!!!

with love from VICTORY

Anonymous said...

Call me my fellow vfca person or I'll tell you on Monday. _____ and I were planning on letting ya'll know then. If it is too much then call me. Only one possibly good bit of news if you believe those people.

Anonymous said...

I won't be there on Monday, so I'll just wait until Tuesday. I think the key words in your last blog was "if you believe those people"...you already know my answer to that one, so it can wait. Have a good weekend.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been to one of these briefings yet, but have they said anything about positive changes at the campuses that will remain open? What about raises for caseworkers? I saw something about a Caseworker salary increase written in one of the budget plans, but what is the actual amount of the raise, anybody know?

Anonymous said...

As we await impending doom...a new policy manual is being created for the TYC agency. This new "rule-book" will surely be structured just like the last one...rules created on an "as needed" basis...rules that suit the needs of the powers that be, and that doesn't include you or me...stay tuned. This ought to be a great re-run!

Anonymous said...

Please, these state of the agency meetings are just a smoke screen. The good old boy system hasn't changed, it is just under new management. If they are all into open disclosure then why is the new Inspector General able to hire former TDCJ IG's without the new positiong being posted within TYC?
When are they going to learn that there is a big diffrence between Adult and juvenile corrections.

Anonymous said...

I also work at Victory Field and heard very positive comments from those who attended the Richardson meeting. I think at this point it would better our facilities to quit running around screaming the sky is falling, which discourages potentially good employees from applying for jobs. These same potential employees could be the ones we need to show that our facility accomplishes things needed for the kids and should be kept open.
As long you continue to accept your paycheck from the state of Texas you are obligated to ensure that these CHILDREN-yes by law they are children-are kept safe, have food, clothing and educated, just as the judges require of us until we can return them to their parents.
Whether you like it or not, if you do not do your best to see this happen, you also are a child abuser.

Anonymous said...

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most gullible of them all? Why...I do believe it's you anon, 10:42 AM from VFCA.

Don't call me a child abuser just because I am more of a realist than you are. The ONLY reason I am still there is to help the kids...not to shine my star for appearances sake for central office. You believe what you want to, and I'll do the same...in the meantime absorb this:

Casting judgement upon others who chose not engulf the B.S. that surrounds us, makes you the look like the shiniest butt-kisser of all.

Calling people child abusers....
That's taking it WAY too far!!!

Anonymous said...

"State of the Agency"? That can be summed up in one word...chaos! How long is it going to take for the government and the public to realize the terrible mistake that has been made by putting these TDCJ people in charge of TYC? The reorganization plan was supposed to be in place in April. Here it is July and there is still no plan. Could that be because they have no clue about how to run a juvenile corrections program and are completely out of their element? In the meantime, the ones who continue to suffer are the kids and staff (especially at Marlin and John Shero). Wake up, it's almost time to close and nothing seems to be in place to accomplish this monumental task. At the rate TYC is being mismanaged, we're not going to have to wait for Sunset to tell us we're screwed.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone at these meetings ever stood up and asked Dimitra Pope why they are hiring all of these TDCJ without posting the jobs or having to interview for the positions? Just another "good old boy" TDCJ way of doing things. Looks like another mess in the making.

Anonymous said...

to 10:15 am,

No one speaks up because many leaders are fearful of being questioned and will retaliate. And this current "leader" (Pope) has fired people & shuffled people around, seemingly on a whim. She is likely the type to retaliate.

Now, another approach is to remain completely silent during her song and dance. In fact, everyone should stare at the floor while she gives her presentation. Don't laugh at any of her jokes and never show her that she has "broken the ice" with her audience. Don't start asking a bunch of questions that would lead her to believe you are "on the bus." And certainly don't start actively kissing ass.