Saturday, January 12, 2008

First steps from 3rd TYC conservator seem positive

Though he was pretty quiet over the holidays, initial noises emanating from the Texas Youth Commission's new conservator, Richard Nedelkoff, so far sound pretty encouraging, at least judging by this morning's Austin Statesman ("New Youth Commission Conservator Vows to be Hands On," Jan. 12):

"I have clearly articulated my desire to be a very active conservator," Nedelkoff said in an interview with the American-Statesman. "I am a person who knows operations and the juvenile justice system, and (Pope and I) are going to be working together.

"I'm about building a team, a team that works together with common goals and works to develop a plan to bring the agency out of conservatorship within a certain period," he said. "In the next 30 to 60 days, I plan on developing a plan ... that will be needed to do that."

On Thursday, Nedelkoff began putting his mark on the agency's leadership team, forcing the resignation of Billy Humphrey, a top Pope lieutenant who was criticized for supporting the expanded use of pepper spray and solitary confinement to control unruly youths.

In another change, legislative leaders said Alfonzo Royal, Perry's liaison to the Youth Commission who was accused of inaction during early stages of the scandal, has been reassigned.

Pope, who has been criticized in recent months for the sometimes rocky implementation of changes mandated by the Legislature, was out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Nedelkoff said he is reviewing Pope's decision in August to expand the use of pepper spray, which was reversed a month later after a lawsuit was filed by two advocacy groups. Nedelkoff did not say whether he plans to alter the policy.

State auditors and legislative leaders have been critical of some lockups for their isolated locations and conditions and have suggested that several should be considered for closure so programs could be closer to urban areas, where most youth offenders call home.

Youth Commission staff members are conducting a review of which lockups should be closed or repurposed — among the biggest political issues the agency faces — and Nedelkoff said he wants a detailed study of all alternatives before any decisions are made.

"It's like a jigsaw puzzle," he said. "We have to decide how much reconfiguring we should do before we can determine youth placement, how locations should be utilized and which ones should be closed."

All of this sounds pretty positive. The last conservator was anything but "hands on," and the agency floundered under his absent leadership. The departures of Humphrey and Royal cleared some deadwood from the field, and I'm pleased at the declaration that he plans to revisit TYC's "Spray First" policy.

Most of all, it's great to hear that somebody is actually putting together a written implementation plan on how to move the agency out of conservatorship. I've frequently been under the impression over the last nine months that the agency's leaders were flying by the seat of their pants.

The other big news in Ward's story, though, is Nedelkoff's declaration that he intends to reconfigure TYC and close or re-purpose some facilities. Already two TYC units have been transferred to TDCJ (although it remains to be seen how it's possible for TDCJ to staff them), and the agency removed youth from a third private unit because of abusive conditions.

Over the holidays, I heard a credible, specific, but unconfirmed rumor that Ms. Pope planned to shutter the Sheffield Unit in Iraan, from which the majority of youth have already been removed, within the first three months of 2008, possibly transferring it to TDCJ as well. Now it sounds like more units' fate than that, even, may be in play.

I put in a request this week to interview the new conservator, so maybe sometime soon we can get more details straight from the horse's mouth.

116 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it is interesting to hear that Alfonso Royal resigned. Reliable sources have said that he contacted Dimitria Pope to give her a heads up after he received the Ombudsman's report on Coke Co.
Thanks to him DP was able to sweep in on her white horse and then testify to legislatures that she had never seen any other reports on Coke Co.

Anonymous said...

Sheffield will be closing that has been in the works since this past Summer. There are too many staffing issues to keep the Unit open.

Anonymous said...

Here is his first error by the Conservator that was not posted in the article on Grits, but was in the Statesman:

"Nedelkoff said Pope will remain a part of his management team."

She truly must be untouchable, and if Nedelkoff is forced to keep her in the same role, the Agency will not make a rebound.

Anonymous said...

Leaders normally give their underlings a vote of confidence, right before he stabs them in the heart.

Plato

Anonymous said...

Glad to see Alfonso is apparently being held accountable to some extent for his role in this. But it makes no sense to force Humphrey out and keep Pope! She's responsible for the problems caused by Billy's unfitness for the position. She empowered him and he was undoubtedly following her instructions. I think Nedelkoff took one step forward and two steps back by stating that they "will be working together." Scarey. I suspect Pope forced Billy out in order to keep her own job for the time being.

Anonymous said...

He must also ensure that he places competent administrators in all Regional positions and the Deputy Director of Juvenile Services as well. If he keeps these folks in place who by the way were placed by Billy Humphrey and did little prior to these appointments TYC will never move forward.

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to give the new conservator a shot, what more do we have to lose? Guarded Optimism.

Hopefully, his saying that he and Pope will be working together is either a temporary situation or is to give her a graceful way out.

She is too politically well connected to just 'fire', even though she is also an 'at will' employee. If she is truly as 'untouchable' as has been rumored, no one will be abe to turn this agency around.

If she can't be removed, then she needs to be 'encouraged' to leave on her own.

She has to go before the healing can begin. She has done too much damage to morale to stay.

Anonymous said...

Pope needs to go on the basis that she publicly admitted she does not like the WHITE WOMEN IN TYC. She made it clear to all how she feels about the white race.
If Bronco was forced out for what he did, she should be forced out for what she said to the public.
I can not see how he would keep her. If she does not like white people then how is that going to reflect the white kids in TYC?
She can NEVER earn respect from the employees in TYC after that statement. This also includes people of her own race.

Anonymous said...

All his statements center on putting people in management positions who are experts in juvenile justice and have a vision for the agency. Pope has clearly demonstrated neither. Hopefully what he is saying about working with Ms. Pope means that she will be doing his biding. I doubt she will stick around too long for that.

I believe he will keep Pope, who will now have to run everything she does through the new conservator reducing her to a lame duck, until he is ready to put a permanent ED in place in 6-8 weeks.

I am encouraged by the conservator's stated intention of putting together a plan to ultimately end conservatorship, eliminating his own job. Ultimately he will have to put someone in place who he truly believes can implement that plan. Pope has clearly demonstrated she is not capable.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Nedelkoff

Education is a big part of TYC.

The Austin elite have put together a new plan which is very flawed. Please intervene before it is implemented.

The architects of the plan are unaware of the special needs of the students and their unique education levels.

Our students are typically at the 4th and 5th grade academically. Teachers are going to be forced to present high school level material to them.

Central office has bought into some warmed over dogma from the public school system.

TYC does not have the same kinds of students who attend public schools.

Forcing unprepared students to attempt high school level work just because they are at a certain chronological age is cruel.

Anonymous said...

miss pope ain't gonna be goin nowheres. only dem crackers are gonna be leavin. hurd dat and belif it. miss pope is write bout dem whiteys wit dem docter papers ain't nun of dem no nuthin bout nuthin and nether do Needledork. Gwan

Anonymous said...

12:18, it wasn't funny the 1st time and it's even worse now. So enough of the looking ignorant and making racial comments and then signing someone else's name.

Anonymous said...

Nowhere did the article say that Alfonso Royal resigned or had been fired. It said he had been "reassigned". Big difference.

For all we know, he may have gotten a promotion at the Governor's Office.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Pope may stay. My take is that she will be marginalized and no longer wield any power. That may take a while but it seems to be the only thing to do.

Hooray for a planner! Tell people what you're going to do. Do it. Tell people what you have done.

Modern management skills will always help, even in this very difficult situation.

Anonymous said...

If Pope is untouchable, give her an office, or better yet an ool, with nothing to do and no influence.

Anonymous said...

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead (1901 - 1978)

I believe the same for TYC...some more changes in CO and in the field and we may be able to pull this thing together...

Anonymous said...

12:18 you are a racist pig and a complete disgrace to our race. You are a complete coward.

Anonymous said...

2:06,

As you write that nonsense, you are probably laughing your butt off. I thought 12:18 was funny, so what if he/she is a racist, everyone on this blog is prejudice to some degree.

Anonymous said...

So Alfonso has been "reassigned". Now when will the citizens of the State or at least his constituents stand up and boot Whitmire out of office? He knew about the abuse at WTSS shortly after it happened, but didn't do anything, until it got to the media. So, when is Whitmire up for re-election?

Anonymous said...

Grits,

If Sheffield were transferred to TDCJ, they would still have the same staffing problems related to an isolated facility. Legally it is not that simple to transfer a facility that was not a TDCJ facility back to TDCJ, even if TDCJ were dumb enough to take it and add to their staffing problems. It would be easier to just shut it down, not that I am advocating that.

Howard A. Hickman

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I agree with you, Howard, and even the current employees couldn't all transfer. I was just passing on the unconfirmed rumor as I heard it.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that Sheffield is owned by the Iraan ISD, TYC leases it. Rumor is TYC will back out of the arrangement, and shut the doors of Sheffield within the next 6 months. This has been in the works for quite some time. VFCA will most likely be the next one to go, followed by Crockett. Only Gainseville, Mart, Brownwood, Al Price, Giddings, Corsicana, and Evins will remain. Al Price is on the bubble at this time and the powers that be are unsure if it will remain open. Once this is complete, two smaller facilities will be built in the Dallas/Ft. Worth or Houston areas, possible one in each. This is from a credible source, but things change frequently in TYC, so who really knows?

Anonymous said...

For those decisions, I think there's only 1 creditable source in TYC right now, and that's the Conservator. It doesn't matter what Pope or Bronco Billy were thinking.

Anonymous said...

Sheffield is not owned by Iraan ISD, only the front school portion and where they keep the administration offices at is owned by Iraan ISD. All of the dorms and security is owned by the State at a rate of 13 million dollars, this includes the 8 new houses/duplexes (3 bed 2 bath).
The State also spent another 250 thousand two years ago for 16 mobile home pads behind the dorms. This facility is state of the art and only 5 years old, too bad they may shut it down? It would seem more feasible to drop the population down (and keep it this way) to 60 youth. This could be staffed but the people in the region would have to hear something from the leaders that it will stay open for staff to work there. But then again this is the problem with all the facilities that believe they will be shut down, if nobody reassures them it's hard to retain staff.

Anonymous said...

Dementia will now sell out all those TDC white people she brought with her to save her neck and job.

The conservator needs to be aware that she has and never will have any credibility or respect from employees in the the field. She might as well exit with dignity but her arrogance and ego won't allow it. We'll have to wait until the MSM reports her resgination

Tax payers should be aware that they pay the woman $125,000 a year to warehouse their children, not rehabilitate them. While she lies to the lege, treats emloyees like idiots and spent quite a chunk of money on redecorating! The conservator needs to look at her gross fiscal mismanagment simply by looking at travel, overtime and redecorating costs. The cost of purchasing pepper spray alone should do her in, not to mention her support of spraying youth. Perhaps we can change his mind as he visits our facilities. One can hope.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the monies she has spent on those sorry shirts and now pants to make us all look like TDCJ where she came from. Over 12000 pairs to start with? Has to be a big chunk of change on that. It is just the begining of the cost that the state will have to make the tax payers pay each year for them. Maybe they should go ahead and put the kids in stripes while they are ordering so we can all look like were in Jail. One more Positive thing she has done for the kids.
Its not the uniform its her way of saying and letting us know she is in charge and we are beneath her. She would not make the superindents wear them and that is a show that they are IN CHARGE and more important so they can wear the street clothes. It is a way to belittle the people that work for TYC. Now some people kind of like the idea but there are very few.
This will open up a can of worm here but I am going to say what I feel, so don't beat me up to bad for saying it.
I did not go to school get two degrees to wear a prison uniform to my work place. If I had of wanted to wear a uniform then I would have went to work at Taco Bell or somewhere that supplies me my clothes.
Those uniforms will be the last straw for me with TYC and I want to stay but I will leave.

Anonymous said...

Here's to Alfonzo Royal he is not with us anymore...Not with us anymore ....Not with us anymore...God Bless Us We Wont Miss Him

Anonymous said...

Word is that Alfonso Royal has not been reassigned; Mike Ward got it wrong.

Anonymous said...

@2:56,

You're the same pig as he/she was, and no, I'm not laughing at all about that racist comment from a rednecks from Gainesville. Yeah, I'm white, and recognize white trash when I see it, and you, like him/her, fit that bill. What a redneck. You are a disgrace to my race, because that wasn't funny. Excellence has no color idiot.

Anonymous said...

Shut up already, quit kissing Hawthorne's butt, you can tell her on Monday how you defended her honor, and maybe she will throw you a bone.

P.S. Gainesville rednecks rule.

Anonymous said...

I just love it when you people ASSUME that the person writing a racist comment is white or a redneck. Maybe just maybe the person is of the same race as the person they are making the comment about just to get a reaction. Quit assuming.

Anonymous said...

12:14:

something tells me he knows more about TYC than you do already.

5:10:

I can't believe something as petty as uniforms is your last straw.

Do they show off your camel toe or something?

Anonymous said...

Before you give SBC to TDCJ, you might want to check with the Iraan ISD. Last I heard they were leasing the facility to TYC. And by the way, $10 million for the new dorms, $400k for the trailer pads, 10 housing units built for staff in Sheffield and 8-10 houses purchased in Iraan. Talk about your fiscal mismanagement!

Anonymous said...

Folks, SBC won't be the only one closing, some of the bigger facilities will be closed too. The move is towards contract care and smaller TYC facilities. By the time this is done, Mart and Brownwood maybe the only ones that remain as orientation and assessment. Get ready it's coming.

Anonymous said...

Can we all just take a moment and write the good Sen. Whitmire and ask him to please relieve himself of the duties of overseeing the Legislative TYC committee and the Criminal Justice Committee. His leadership and decision making as a Senator has led us to some of these problems (i.e. staffing issues in both TDCJ and TYC).

Anonymous said...

Re: "rednecks at Gaineville rule."

Again - I'm white and awfully caucasion and proud of it.

It's pieces of shit like you that make us all look bad. And so why don't you keep your redneck comments to yourself. Huh? what a piece of shit. One gringo to another - let's meet, or are you some coward ass chicken shit? Back off the black folks or put up or shut up you racist piece of shit.

Anonymous said...

I'm your huckleberry. Say when.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Stop this crap, people. This isn't 5th grade and you should go somewhere else if you want to call folks out for a fight. Similarly, the snide, racist crap at 12:18 contributes nothing, zero, and IMO harms employees interests.

I provide this forum to encourage constructive dialogue, not so y'all can bare your asses. I do not and cannot constantly moderate comments, especially on TYC strings. Try to behave like adults, please. Thx.

Anonymous said...

I think 12:18 is funny as hell and how do you know who he/she is even talking about anyway? And if you assume its the Gwan in Gainesville then you must of read one of her e-mails or know that she is very pro black and definatly show favortism to the black staff, even the black staff can tell you that.

Anonymous said...

Hey if someone wants to bitch and call some one racist lets talk about the popes comment thats has went by the way side. lets talk about that.

Anonymous said...

Come on, guys, have some respect for Grits. He doesn't have to put up with your crap. The post is about upcoming changes - leadership, pepper spray policy in the wake of Bronco's "resignation", and changes in governor's office staff regarding TYC. Let's bring the discussion back to those topics. I think Nedelkoff is making clear references to change and his control over the situation. IMO, Pope will be gone within a week or two. Alfonso's move should have come long long ago, as soon as his inaction was revealed to governor's advisors.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a shame that daPope isn't gone, yet. But I quit TYC. The comment about education is worthwhile, it is obvious that the person who made it hasn't heard of the Every Child Left Behind Law. Yes, the Washington politicos call it No CLB, but it is so misguided and under informed that it will eventually force all students, except a small elite to get into Job Corps or some other training program that requires a student to earn a GED instead of a diploma.

Bob Contrerras is public school man with 7 years TYC experience, or maybe I should say who has worked in TYC for 7 years. All of education in the whole nation is under a misguided idea that all children need to go to college, and that just isn't so.

Anonymous said...

IMO, it's refreshing to see white folks stand up and say, "I will not allow my race to be embarassed by ignorant racists." Frankly, I've been wondering if all the TYC employees reading Grits secretly condone these attitudes. There's no doubt that Pope's comment re white women was stupid, but it's nothing compared to the incredibly offensive racist comments that are frequently posted on Grits. So, thank you!

For 1/13 8:42 AM:

The national education system is geared toward youth going to college because the U.S. wants to remain economically viable in the new global economy. Don't want to get a degree? Then don't complain when your low-skill job is downsized and sent overseas.

Anonymous said...

I believe that someone is out to destroy this blog for TYC and get everyone off topic. To much truth is told here about the management of TYC and Grits tells it like it is here. If they can get us all fighting and looking like idiots then this proves a point to the Legislators that read the blog and others that we are working for the betterment of TYC and we are what we are.
I am disgusted that everytime I read the blog it ends up with someone posting something off topic and it turns into a fight.
Take the person who posted the nasty remark by 10:10,it was a useless reply and only meant to stir up something. If these people work for TYC then they need to be relieved of their job at TYC. I don't think that this kind of crap needs to be in TYC working with kids. Shows no professionalism, no education when you post comments that are clearly out to get someone to respond to you. Like Grits said, just inmature 5 grade crap.

Anonymous said...

Sorry correction on post 920
Should say NOT working for the betterment of TYC

Anonymous said...

For:
1/13/2008 08:41:00 AM and 1/13/2008 08:55:00 AM

In education you have to do what is possible. Try and do otherwise and you get nothing. TYC is going to get nothing.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"I believe that someone is out to destroy this blog for TYC and get everyone off topic."

Yup. They're called "trolls." As in, "Don't feed the trolls."

The sure sign of a troll is they're looking to goad a reaction from someone instead of make a valid point or contribute to a real conversation. When you react to a troll, you just give them what they're looking for. So try not to, and I'll try to better police the outright racist crap. Thx.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this kind of stuff does not belong in TYC or any other workplace. However, if you have ever worked for TYC you would have some understanding of why people are making these comments. I have worked over 19 years for TYC and there never was race a problem until Harrison came in the picture and then was promoted to central office. Now you have a top leader making raicists remarks and the MSM let her get away with it, excuse me but if it had been an Anglo, Hispanic or other race but black, making the same state; we would have been fired on the spot. You tell me 9:20 a.m., where are we to go to vent our feeling about the comment Dementia made? I agree that the ughly words need to be replaced and the baiting of physical encounters; however if you can answer my question about where to vent about the racicism going on in TYC, and its rampant across the agency, I promise I will not even read Grits anymore!! This is what d'Pope has nutured in our agency. Just look at all the people she has promoted, most are of her race and as she once stated, "unable to comprehend or read" much less be role models. What part of "this is a serious problem in TYC right now" is not understood? I'm not condoning the use of expletives or baiting of physical encounters, but they do have a right to their opinions, barring the ughliness.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree, TYC is full of racist from the top to the bottom, in Central Office and the field. The same is true in TDCJ. If we can fix the racist attitudes of the people, then these Agencies would be a better place to work. Unfortunately, we often let the prejudice beliefs of most of our clients creep into our way of thinking. This truly is the biggest problem facing both juvenile and adult corrections in the State.

Anonymous said...

Joe is back in town

Anonymous said...

9:38
I did not mean not to vent your feelings about TYC and the mess we are in. I am saying we need to stop feeding in with the ones that are trying to destroy our blog all together. Yes, I want this blog to stay and I want to be able to voice my opinion here in a professional manner and not be attacked for saying what I feel. Take the Camel Toe deal, how degrading is that comment to women? The person who used that comment is out of control with their comments. That is the kind of crap I was reffering to. Those who would say something like that in a public blog tells alot about the person behind the computer, now doesn't it.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that so far this new conservator is wanting to change the threat of "fire at will" has presented. That everyone needs due process. I hope this is true and he looks at some of the unfortunate victims this has produced and some of them are able to return to the agency. I sincerely hope that he looks at some of the new & old management that have remained to see how they have treated tyc employees during this time frame. It is unfortunate that so many administrators have used this atomosphere for their personal vindettas. I hope things are in for a positive change.

Anonymous said...

12:23, I agree with you! We don't need senseless negative, berating, and unethical commentors. Scott's blog has been a blessing for venting and personally I think we have made some things known that have and can improve TYC. There is no need for the Archie Bunkers of this world to rear their ughly heads.

Anonymous said...

12:14 You are so on target. TYC education is in HUGE trouble. Not only did they hire Contreras, who is so overwhelmed and understands nothing except flirting, but now they hired Johnson to be director of curriculum. She is the equivalent of Pope. Farr should have gotten that job. She has much more experience (Johnson has none!) and she is much more of a Chief that can work with Indians. Not only did she not get it, but Johnson is flaunting it all over the state. Contreras thinks he can "reign" her in. Whatever...he should never had made that decision to begin with. She can't even work with the field personnel. The only thing Johnson can do is toot her own horn, and piss everyone around her off. I am just sick at the direction education is taking. Talk about ideology and not common sense!!!! There is no way that the "new" educational plan is going to provide what our students need. It might look good on paper, but no way will it work in practice. UGH! Mr. Conservator--PLEASE HELP!!! Education is the greatest asset for these youth.

Anonymous said...

I personally do not have a problem with being an "at will" employee. If you check, you will find that most of the other state agencies operate under the "at will" clause as well.

The only reason this has become an issue in TYC is because Pope abused the purpose of it. But as you can see by the recent actions of the conservator regarding Bronco Billy. She is not a leader or someone who can be trusted. Bronco should had be fired shortly after his arrival and she did nothing about it. Instead she has been using the "at will" clause to intimidate people and to create jobs for her friends.

It is disapointing to read the recent comments made by the conservator, stating "that he looks forward to working with Pope." I can't believe that he would trust anyone with her track record?

Conservator don't forget about TYC's "at will" clause and fire Pope's behind. TYC will benefit from such action.

Anonymous said...

03:22:00 PM

Thank you for your interest in education.

I do not know the folks in central office. I do know that they could not have studied the problem in depth and come up with the plan that they did.

IMO the students in TYC are on average more motivated than their free world counterparts. There is a catch. They get frusturated and quit when forced to attempt grade level material.

Do what is possible and we get progress. Insist on the impossible and we get nothing. I am sorry Central Office has made a bad choice.

Anonymous said...

On education,

If a student can only work 4th grade math problems, it doesn't increase the chance he will finish college, to throw him in an algebra I class just because he is 16.
This is the TYC plan.
The students do not need to be embarrased.

Anonymous said...

Many TYC employees are grateful to have a forum to vent and try to educate the public on what really goes on behind the scenes at TYC. Unfortunately, our leaders have caused and allowed the domino effect of the continued "racism." Nothing has been done to Ms. Pope about her unethical, inconsiderate and uneducated comment about "white women." This is exactly what keeps racism going. Thank goodness that there are those of us who know all "black people" are not racist and that all "white people" are not "Rednecks." Those who feed off of those ignorant remarks is what keeps the racism going. Bottom line is that this should not be about racism--it is about the wrong people, being placed in the wrong positions that abuse their authority for the wrong reasons. Can we just forward all these TYC Blogs to all the news stations, Govenor, Oprah, heck whoever will listen so that something can be done--this is crazy and no one is doing anything--it's like people are wearing blinders. For God's sake if it is not noticible that these Blogs are a cry for help from TYC employees, I don't know what to say. If I were a parent of a child incarcerated at TYC I would be furious that the leaders are not leading, the followers are weak and those willing to take charge are not allowed to.

Anonymous said...

on education: How about this little rule!

If a kid is in the say 8th grade and has not been in school for awhile just like all of them. He comes in at what should be the begining of the 8th grade. Boom , has a birthday, three days later, he is put in the 9th grade because of his age. Kid skips the entire 8th grade.
Kid misses all the skills he would have learned in the 8th. That is the rule, if you turn 14 at anytime you will be placed in the 9th grade. Boy that makes sense doesn't it. Talk about failure!

Anonymous said...

Teachers are being told they must go back and take other certifications to keep their jobs.
If your assigned to teach Math and you have English Certification then you better be hooking up with Sbec to take the exam for Math or out the door you go.

Some have said that they are leaving this up to the principals on the campuses. So one campus may not require you to retest and use the Highly Qualified like public schools and other campus will make you take the exam to keep your job. If you don't pass it, guess your out the door. Looks like that would be a lawsuit somewhere.

I know most people hate education, but having to have multiple certifications is unbelievable. Can't hire teachers now and they want to make it harder? Many teachers will leave for this reason. If you have taught for several years in the free, your not going to go thru all that stress to keep your job at TYC, you will leave and go to public school. You go CO , good move.

Anonymous said...

On Education
Law suits are needed.

Surely there are grounds for suits based on kids being placed over their heads.

One way to get taken seriously is to go to court.

When individuals like Contrerras and Johnson start being personally named in law suits, they might start thinking and the organization will recognize them as the liabilities which they are.

In TYC, no change ever comes without the use of coersion.

Anonymous said...

I heard some-where that Pope can retire in couple of months. That would agree with the 6-8 week time-frame.

Anonymous said...

If that's true, she can be fired now and still get retirement in about 4 months.

Anonymous said...

Being at will leaves it all too easy for a corrupt administrator to fire those who take their responsibility to report abuse seriously. It is called retaliation. While "for cause" does not eliminate retaliation it does provide an avenue for review and potentially saving someone from being fired unjustly.

Anonymous said...

AMEN 6:37

Anonymous said...

CAN SOME PLEASE TELL ME HOW A 22 YEAR VET. AND ONE OF THE BEST STAFF I HAVE EVER SEEN WORK WITH YOUTH BE FIRED FOR SOMETHING HE DID 27 YEARS AGO AND IS LIVING PROVE OF REHIBILIATION BE SENT PACKING AND THIS POPE LADY STILL HAVE A JOB WITH ALL AND I MEAN ALL OF HER SHORTCOMING? PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME. THIS IS REALLY KILLING ME.

Anonymous said...

I know Contrerras.

He was not the only choice for the job he ws the only applicant. It is a shame, the problem is not TYC education it is the NCLB law. TYC should be able to work on the same rules as Windham -- any certifie teacher can teach at Windham -- they only teach GED. (OK, they have the vocational teachers, and they have to be certified in their area of specialization.) 90% of TYC kids are capable of getting enough skills to pass the GED. They other kids do need special education and can pass the TAKS-M to get through school.

Contrerras has always liked to flirt. apparently his wife allows it, because I know her, too. He has a poor pool to choose from for any assistance, the good people have left, or are waiting for retirement.

No, I am not defending Contrerras, nor am I attacking him. But he is functioning under the same misguided legal principles that Deborah Nance did.

Not everyone in this country competes in the global economy, not everyone in every country participates in the international economy. Let's get real and understand that we will still need mechanics, carpenters, farm laborers, soldiers and other skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers in our society. To deny our own people a chance to compete for these positions is only inviting illegals in to take over these jobs.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about getting rid of Dementia...don't forget Lashbrook. She still needs to go and should have been gone a long time ago. Anyone care to chime in on when and if that will ever happen...???...

Anonymous said...

BlueBell Wiliams was just fired and is packing up now. Woohoo.

Anonymous said...

To the Conservator -

When you arrive in Gainesville, smile politely at the ones that are about to blow major smoke up your backside and go straight to the dorms and talk to the JCO's.

Bypass the so called big dogs. They are not on the dorms (if ever) enough to know what is going on. Many wouldn't know the so called big dogs if they were bit on the butt by them. BTW .. when I say talk to the JCO's, I mean the 5's and below. Some of the 6's don't even show up for work, and when they do, they are never on the dorms.

You could do away with 1/2 of the 6's at Gainesville and they would never ever be missed... and that's the God's honest truth.

Talk to the JCO's whose doing the real work and getting dumped on on a daily basis. That's the only way your going to get to the truth.

And when you leave, please, take the so called big dogs with you... and don' t forget those 6's.

Welcome, your giving many a ray of hope.

Anonymous said...

To; 9:53

Who is "Blue Bell" Williams. Please tell me they have sent Jerome Packing.....

Anonymous said...

YEP Jerome "BLUEBELL" Williams day has come. Alot of kids moved out last week due to his lack of leadership skills.

Anonymous said...

After working for public schools for many years and working for TYC for several years I have developed my own idea of an educational plan. This plan comes from realizing that public school hasn't worked for our students, from trying to understand what would keep our students from returning, and from realizing that schools should exist for only one reason...students.

What if we developed more vocational programs in a different way? What if one facility specialized in construction skills, one facility specialized in welding, another in large equpement operation, and so on? What if the trade books for these skills were brought into the English and Math classes as text books? All GED and TEKS objectives could be met using such books, and students who want to learn these trades would have reason to read them.
What if we concentrated on giving each student a skill that would earn him more than minimum wage? What if the student behavior at a beginning facility earned the student the right to attend the vocational program of his choice at a particular facility? What if his continued behavior earned him the right to remain at that facility long enough to earn a skill certificate? What if we combined this with achieving a GED?
I realize that funding comes from ADA. I realize the ADA funding is based on students attending a curriculum designed to earn a high school diploma. I realize I am going against NCLB.

But wouldn't it serve our students, our taxpayers, and our neighbors if these students themselves became taxpayers and not so high a threat to society? What if our leadership went to the legislature and asked for funding based on helping students who could not be help by public schooling?

Anonymous said...

I am not sure it would be against NCLB if Reading, Writing, and Math were being taught, which they would have to be to pass the GED. Besides, TEA has given TYC permission to give the GED at age 16 and to give the TABE test as the accountability instead of TAKS. They should be able to make allowances for these also. It is a shame that our students are not being headed for vocational and GED anyway. So few actually attain a HS diploma. The public schools failed them when they were there, so why are we trying to mimic what they did and allow our students to fail again by transitioning back into society with very little than what they had before TYC. Also, with the new rules, students will not be staying past their MLOS anyway and if they could attain a vocational certificate and/or literacy and GED, how great for them. Then when they are truant they are not breaking probation. They might even be able to get jobs. DUH! We have tried to tell this to everyone, but no one listens--especially the lege!

Anonymous said...

I just read that Jerome Williams is leaving. This is another bad reflection on Pope. Maybe he was not ready for the position and jumped at the opportunity, when he probably should not done it.

But let not forget that it was Pope, who put TYC in position where inexperience people have been thrown/given the wrong jobs.
Yet, she still around. Can someone tell me of any employee who has done more damage to TYC in its entire history than Pope? She's got to go!!!!

TYC she will never begin recovering as long as that log is still around.

Anonymous said...

If it is true that Jerome Williams was fired, TYC (Pope, et.al.) did him a terrible disservice. He was not qualified for the position and I doubt that he was given supervision, guidance and training to help him be successful. The move cost him and his family a lot if he lost his job. This is sad no matter how any of us might have felt personally about him.

Anonymous said...

8:10,

I agree with you. But who has done TYC a bigger diservice than Pope? She is unforgiving when it comes to "old" TYC personel. But as we all know when it came to Bronco, she never saw anything wrong.

This is why TYC is in shambles and a terrible place to work. How many unqualified she has placed in jobs that they don't belong? She'll find another unqualified person to take over Crockett. But is Pope even qualified to be TYC's ED? I think not!

So the money wasting continues.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, Jerome will be re-assigned, and not fired. He didn't have a chance, and was set up for failure.

Anonymous said...

Jerome, TYC did you a terrible disservice if in fact you have been fired. The powers that be placed you in a position with very little support. I wish you the best. If you haven't been fired, you may want to start looking for another job.

Been There, Done it.

Anonymous said...

To 07:16:00 PM, on education.

We are being told that teachers who fight the new "Grade Skip" plan will be fired, plain and simple.

spearshaker said...

6:24 There was such a school in New York City, supported in part by TV personality Orson Bean (you may remember him from shows like I've Got A Secret). It was called the 15th Street School. Kids accepted there could take any course they wanted on the condition they showed up and did the work every day. Bean gave this example: kids came into the basement and saw the boat building class with a sailboat being crafted. Of course, they wanted to take that class, and they could. When they were enrolled, they soon found out they had to learn to read books about cutting, planing and sanding etc; then they had to learn math so they could measure...
Textbooks in the English and Math classes were written about makng sailboats...

Your idea was suggested by myself among others 25 years ago, in part because Giddings had great auto mechanic and body shop programs, certification in either by the very talented teachers meant instant high dollar jobs in the community. At the time, Gainesville had construction training program that worked in the community and WTSS experimented with a Mexican National dorm created to teach, in Spanish, skills that could be used in Mexico. Eventually, this program got strong support from the Mexican government. With a joint grant, Odessa College and WTSS built vocational classrooms at WTSS to be used by TYC during the day and by OC in the evening. The need for a fence and greater Security ended that attempt.
I would like to suggest adding food service to your list of training programs. The crackdown on undocumented persons and the boom in the oil patch has hurt this industry. In many cases, learned skills in this area can provide solid incomes with limited proficiency in academics and even learning disabilities. Many people learn with hands-on practice better than they do reading about a skill.
Education may be the answer for many TYC students but not if we continue to require the "differently gifted" to learn the same subjects in the same way as the mediocre...oops, I mean average... students that thrive or at least survive in the classrooms of schoools in the "free."

Anonymous said...

8:57pm Jerome will be fine and most likely will be reassigned (somewhere), but what about all the other appointments that Billy Humphrey made?
Paul Bartush-Regional Director
Sylvia Martinez-Regional Director
Ayo Ominini-Regional Director
Chuck Jones-Superintendent
Wallace Brown-Superintendent
Melody Viduarri-Superintendent
Wanda King-Asst. Superintendent
Laura Braley-Superintendent
Gwan Hawthorne-Superintendent

Are they competent, and doing the job they were placed in? You talk about good ol-boy/gal going on while Humster was in charge. Jerome was just one of many that were placed based upon??????

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone will start listening now that more than one facilty has blown up recently.
What the new folks have put in place will not work, and/or is not working. Crockett last week and now Edinburg?
I wonder if the kids they moved from Crockett went here?
Pepper spray used to quell disruption at Edinburg youth prison
http://www.themonitor.com/news/hurley_8068___article.html/juveniles_facility.html

Anonymous said...

The Crockett kids went to Mart II--once again--the dumping ground. I am sure the Evins kids will go there also. There is still no staff, no control, but they keep on coming. Now, for the next several days, there is not even any water in Mart-the whole town of Mart. So they brought in 6 porta potties for almost 300 kids to use. Yeah right. Supposedly two are designated for staff. They had to bring in bottled water and some kind of porta showers. And here's the thing.The water won't be on for several more days! You talk about a friggin mess! The hits just keep on coming if you work at Mart II!

Anonymous said...

The latest other than Evins having a riot is that Pope authorized the purchase for her a new black Crown Victoria. Now this is the first time ever this color has ever been bought at TYC but the funny thing it was not authorized in the budget, it was what she wanted. Apparently her buddies at TDCJ drive black Vick's and she wanted to blend in. Gross fiscal mismanagement keeps happening every day she holds power.

Anonymous said...

First they force us to use pepper spray. Now they are going to investigate the staff that are using it?
http://www.team4news.com/global/story.asp?s=7624362&ClientType=Printable

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Evins is starting to pop off. Guess Bart Caldwell was not the problem after all. Hey, Sen. Hinojosa, why don't you go down to the dorms and handle the problems, sounds like you got all the answers.

Anonymous said...

I really feel for you folks at TYC. After reading the article mentioned by 6:26, all of ya'll's hands are tied. I for one would be looking for a new job if I worked for TYC.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Pope got a new car because she's had two accidents in the past 6 months . . . wonder what other state employee still gets to drive a state vehicle - anywhere - with that kind of driving record.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's news to me, if she has been in two wrecks in the past 6 months, regardless of fault, that is still a clear violation of TYC policy. JCOs have been fired throughout the Agency for similar policy violations. Is Ms. Pope getting preferential treatment because of who she knows?

Anonymous said...

Lets see
They hand you the pepper spray and you are trained and told when and how to use it by our great leadership.
Now we are at fault for spraying.
Past time to go...

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the new conservator will see how Lashbrook is also. She is just as bad as Bronco Billy was. Talk about having cronies, holding grudges. Thank god she is now on the bottom of the organizational chart, now they need to remove her.

Anonymous said...

Grits, I'm wondering if you've had any luck scheduling that interview with the new conservator. I'm curious as to or not you'll get the same "beat around the bush" answers about facility closures as the last two conservators have provided. I for one am worried about keeping my job. I'm willing to stay until the place closes; however, it would be nice to hear an estimated time frame. I have a lot more car payments and house payments to make. thx

Anonymous said...

Well, he was supposed to be in Crockett Monday or Tuesday to "assess the situation" and we've seen no sign of him. Yet another disappointment.

Anonymous said...

Mart is without water for up to three weeks! I am talking the whole town including the prison. It is porta-potty gross. Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

Go Richard Go!!! Post that ED position! Put it in Elmer's ear and tell him we said hi because he was backing this BS from the beginning and deserves a good high if ya' know what I mean. Let TDCJ guards have at his ass next.

Anonymous said...

fortunately after reading this blog, leaving tyc was the better option. what a mess. pope gets a car, jerome gets a boot, humphrey gets another boot, the teachers are getting some kind of kick, and the new conservator (who i think really has probably the best perspective as far as past work with juveniles is concerned) is keeping pope!! if he read this blog and just took 10% of the comments as true he would see that move is ill advised. what a deal!!! any discussion about how treatment and rehabilitation is going on in during all of this pandemonium??? when i worked with so called "dysfunctional" families we just went for the bomb shelter or safety plans in cases such as these. texans should be outraged. our state was build on much more conscience and fortitude than what i see. i think i will move to alaska where stength and perseverance of will seem to be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Talking about waste and abuse-it seems like everyone in TYC has a state issued Blackberry? What a waste of money.

But this is Dementia at her best...new state car, new furniture, and Blackberrys for everyone. What a deal!

Anonymous said...

There is a beautiful, new, giant water tank over at the Marlin facility, full of delicious, refreshing water. Unfortunately, TDCJ owns it now!

I feel so bad for my friends from MOAU who are now suffering through another water outage -- although none of Marlin's frequent outages lasted more than a few days. Everyone pray for the staff and students there.

Anonymous said...

7:37
I have had the same thoughts, not moving to Alaska but just move out of TEXAS! Course can not do that, but I NEVER would have thought I would EVER say that to myself.
I believe that TYC will have to be closed before it can be repaired.
Quote from a recent book I read stated that " one will never know the damage one has done, until they are gone."
We will face the real damage this adminstration has done to TYC for many years to come after they are all gone.
Most of that will be the loss of good staff to carry on. It takes years in TYC to truly understand the kids that pass thru those sally ports. These new staff don't have a clue to what is really on the inside. Just listen to some of them speak about the kids and TYC. They just do not understand the kids, not that they want become good staff one day if they stay long enough to understand them or they even want to. Some will be just a paycheck until they find a better job. The good ones will be run off by supervisors or other non caring staff.

Anonymous said...

We've all heard rumors that Bronco Billy's remaining Regional Director that he hired???? are not competent to fill these positions.

Let's see here...we all know for a fact that Sylvia Martinez is incapable of combining any number of words from the English or Spanish language to construct a comprehensive sentence. When you can begin to understand her e-mails, you can bet your bottom dollar, her "personal assistance" Cindy Saldivar wrote it for her...but even her e-mails are chopped up!

Lucky for Ayo someone taught him the magic of cut and paste. The only e-mails that make any kind of bizrre sense are a direct result of him cutting and pasting from e-mails he received from Bronco Billy.

Along with being "somewhat" illiterate, she is just plain mean. She has her favorite staff -- Cepeda, Palacios, Tina Fuentes, Andrea Graham, Juan Gonzalez, Melody Viduarri to name a few. How does a JCO IV become the acting JCO VI of security, bypassing all JCO Vs? Now he is the case worker for security. Rumor has it, Sylvia has had an ongoing relationship with Cepeada for numerous years.

Sylvia Martinez has not been shy when it comes to abusing her authority. In the real world, it's called Abuse of Public Office. Her rude and hateful conduct is outrageous!!! Are these the traits that qualify a person for Executive Administrative positions?

Anonymous said...

Well, we can all just hope that the New Conservator will look at all aspects of his management team and make wise decisions. I would hope that he would call in an unbiased person like Will Harrell the Ombudsman to make comments and assessments that he has seen his he arrived at TYC. I have heard nothing but good things about him and the work he is trying to do with a limited budget and staffing.

Anonymous said...

10:11, sounds like a plan. The only issue I have with Will is that he assumes kids and/or parents are telling the truth (not a bad assumption for an advocate, but he has too much power to be anything but objective). However, if the Conservator is the "judge", then having Will "advocate" might be a good approach. You can bet that current administration is trying to convince him that it is only corrupt and illiterate staff that are complaining.

Anonymous said...

Will has done an amazing job with almost no resources. His main drive is helping the kids. I respect his ability to come into TYC with an open mind and not get caught up in the sweeping negativity. Will has made a point of acknowledging those hardworking staff. The men and women have hung in there with the hope that their battles will serve a pupose and things will get better. He has really embraced TYC.

Anonymous said...

to 9:56 pm, you sound like Karen Lashbrook, bitter as ever. Doesn't feel so good to be treated how you have treated your employees for years. You need to start looking at yourself before you start criticizing others. Plus, your jealousy is showing.

Anonymous said...

Conservator was out at Giddings last weekend. On the dorms talking to staff about their experiences in TYC

Anonymous said...

To 8:10 and all the other Bluebell Williams supporters - I agree with you on some level. Hope you are in Central Office - you'll see him soon.
I hate that this move disrupted his family, etc. But he should have been man enough to admit this was too much for him. We had high hopes for him after breaking free from the Freeman/Nicholson shackles. But Bluebell made some unrecoverable mistakes. I hope he is a good person, father, husband etc and I hope he finds success in his new position. But while he was Supt, he was a power-seeking, arrogant liar. He told so many lies, he couldn't keep them straight. There is no excuse for some of the mistakes (oops I mean decisions) he made or decisions he refused to make. Happy trails Bluebell.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you people at Crockett will never be happy. Maybe you need to get one of your own home grown folks to be Supt., nah, ya'll would stab them in the back, too.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Crockett Chip Walters.

Anonymous said...

Chip Walters? I thought it was going to be Mike Davis?

Anonymous said...

Mike Davis to Crockett, Chip Walters is in Giddings.

Anonymous said...

9:34, I mean Bluebell Williams, stay off of the blogs - don't you have some packing to do.

Anonymous said...

the good news just keeps coming!!!

Former Employee said...

Common sense people, common sense. Reading this blog spot some of us can easily see the reasons as to the plight of this agency. One major problem is politics the other is incompetence based on those politics. Yes, there will be politics in any venue such as this but the elimination of it should be focused on and paramount. Removing the head of the snake will bring about that change. When the Head, (CO) has no idea what needs are appropriate for a particular facility and they then focus on each facility working the same; basically telling administrators how to run and do things, otherwise known as a one size fits all. This is a recipe for disaster as history has shown. However, because we have "Politicians" in this agency as all others,(people that are concerned for their own well being)the agency as many others will fail. History proves it.

Field administrators, managers, caseworkersand JCO staff follow your hearts, use your common sense, do what you need to do to care or discipline the youth (legally). Run your facility as best you see fit. Use what works in your facility. The HELL with Central Office. Step up people fix this yourselves. Take charge of your facility. If you have a truely incompetent and provable screwed up manager or administrator document it and run them out of town. You have rights people. Beleive me you do have rights in state employment. Take this mess by the horns and twist it around, squash it like a bug. This is your agency and the taxpayers not central offices, not the governors, or any body elses. You have the power to do what it takes. Impower yourselves staff. Don't worry about your job, your pay or being fired. If you do what you need to do legally and in good faith no administrator or manager can fault you. If they do then I guess they will need an attorney not you. Turn the tables people.

Former Employee said...

Close this agency down Governor and start over. If field staff, administrators and JCO Managers cannot correct their own facilities then this agency is finished. It is obviously TYC is still to corrupt and has to many scared employee's for them to take on the tasks of changing what needs to be completed at their facilities. As I said yesterday, the Hell with Central Office. Document managers and then do what you all have to do to change your environment, or find another job people or simply walkout.

The only only people that have a right to complain or those that got canned for past criminal histories that change their lives. For those sorry individuals that continue to making up excuses regarding your workplace rights I'll give you a nother bit of information. Since TYC change to at will, you can walk out at anytime with cause due whatever you feel is wrong or unsafe in the workplace. Otherwise known as a strike if you will. The state now cannot invoke it's unlawful strike policy since "at will" is a two way street. Smarten up people and take care of business if you want changes!!!!!

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