Thursday, February 28, 2008

TYC conservator closes Sheffield Boot Camp

For once TYC employees heard about a facility closure straight from the horse's mouth instead of reading that they lost their jobs in the newspaper. Here's an excerpt from Richard Nedelkoff's email to TYC employees notifying them of the decision to close the Sheffield Unit in West Texas:

I want to let you know that today, I was in Sheffield to announce the closure of the Sheffield Boot Camp. When I first came to TYC, I told you that I would have to make a number of difficult decisions regarding personnel and the proper utilization of our facilities. This is one of those decisions.

We currently have 17 youth at the Sheffield facility, which has a budgeted capacity of 80. For the past year, we have been losing our JCO staff and have been continuously adjusting the youth population to ensure ratios are being met. All of the current Sheffield youth will be moved to the appropriate facilities by the end of March.

We also have approximately 60 current employees at Sheffield. All will be offered the opportunity to make a direct transfer to the West Texas State School or any other TYC facility. This will be a tough time for them and we will do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition for these valued employees and their families. We will be working with the Texas Workforce Commission to provide assistance to those employees who choose not to remain with TYC.

On a brighter note, I want you all to know that our plans for the biennium include keeping West Texas State School and Victory Field operating. We will need the capacity these facilities offer as we begin major renovations to our open bay dorms throughout the system. I felt it important to let all staff know as soon as possible that we will retain these two facilities and that we put to rest any remaining speculation.

I appreciate that he delivered the news out in West Texas in person before notifying other TYC employees or the press, even though everyone knew it was coming. (Legislators joked at last week's hearing that Sheffield wasn't long for this world, though Nedelkoff steadfastly refused to make predictions, or "safety ratings," about particular units.) If earlier TYC conservators had kept their employees in the loop about decisions that way, I doubt seriously Grits would have become what one reporter recently called the "unofficial bulletin board" for TYC employees. This closure was handled with class by comparison to the closure of the private facility in Coke County.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yet again Nedelkoff has acted with class.

He is earning the respect of the long used and abused staff at TYC.

Grits you are right, none of the other conservators operated with this level of openness and transparency. It is refreshing.

It's unfortunate for the families who are affected, but at least he respected them enough to tell them in person.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

There is an interesting commentary on TYC by Edd O'Donnell in the R&D section of the Quorum Report.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

Three words to describe Richard Nedelkoff:

One Class Act.

Three words to describe the employees at SBC:

Several Class Acts.

Specifically to the employees at Sheffield: we love you and enjoyed your company and hope you stay on with us as you are valued. I love that community. Nothing will ever erase my memories of some of the finest folks in Sheffield, Texas. -Whitsfoe

Anonymous said...

Mr. N said:

"I want you all to know that our plans for the biennium include keeping West Texas State School and Victory Field operating. We will need the capacity these facilities offer as we begin major renovations to our open bay dorms throughout the system."

Is it just me, or does anyone else at West Texas or Victory Field feel that we are about to be used as a holding tank for other facilities while they get renovations? What about our own renovations? It doesn't sound too promising after the biennium. It sounds like we received an extension to find a new job.

This isn't a very hopeful situation for luring in JCO applicants either. I'm not trying to see the downside, but it is hard not to given what was said.

So what does the rest of WTSS and VFCA think?

Anonymous said...

My prayers go out to the staff that have remained at SBC as dedicated employees - kudos.

Fortunately there are many opportunities for those families that want to stay in that area with the way oil is going, plus the local school is a great place to work - not to mention the boom happening in Ft. Stockton.

However, come on over to WTSS - we would love to have you all!

Anonymous said...

7:26 I am not from either one of the facilities mentioned and I had the same thoughts as you.
Corsicana was also told we were safe during this biennium, which leaves many to believe that closing is forth comming.

Anonymous said...

I have visited Sheffield many times and enjoyed all the staff and beautiful country. I hope all of you find another job and can move on with your lives, either with TYC or other.

I would also comment on the comments regarding WTSS and VFCA, it did sound like to me you safe until August 2009. What after that a RIF letter, I would have preferred amore definite statement for all TYC facilities.

"Chuy"

5Juliet said...

Mr. N sure did provide SBC with bad news in a very respectful manner - I know that the staff at SBC are not frustrated with him but the out of touch politicians that serve on the Joint Committee.

SBC is a class act in the way that even at full capacity they remained froo of scandal, no brutality investigations and were truly the epitome of "One Team" - deciated and loyal - to all of you at SBC, stay with TYC - the aganecy needs staff like you ot help our youth.

Stay proud of your accomplishments while at SBC - hope to see you in the future.

Anonymous said...

O.K. Hooray for Nedelkoff. So far he's fired two people and closed a facility that had 10 youths in it.

Before we had a tyrant and now we have a chump.

Today he managed to skip in and out of WTSS and didn't notice any of the elephants in the room

Yup, he's a class act, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Corsicana needs some dormitory renovation, but there is no way they are going to close that place. The MHTP kids are not going to go away, and contract programs definitely don't want them.

As for WTSS - they still need a program West of I35. I think he mentioned that they were safe for the rest of the bienium specifically because of all the speculation. No one can predict what the lege will do in the next bienium.

5Juliet said...

please do not take away from the hard work the frontline JCO staff did at SBC - it was not their decision to reduce population - they did their job and did it well with 100 or 17 youth in ther custody - I guess you are a disgruntled nobody that will always ne unhappy even if you were in charge - idiot

Anonymous said...

The heats off.
Its back to the 8 hour loaf.

We'll get a flood of applicants now.

Somebody said that most of the schools have teachers who are supposed to teach classes but don't?

More are needed.

Anonymous said...

10:01

Your message is somewhat ambiguous. Would you care to explain what going back to an "8 hour loaf" has to do with teachers who don't do anything, yet more are needed? I don't see the connection, but I'd like to.

Anonymous said...

SBC just remember when one door closes another one will open. Keep a good outlook and believe that God has a plan for you. You have done your best and fought a good fight in restoring the lives of kids and for that you will be rewarded. The road may look dim now but a bright light will come your way and take care of you and your families. Keep the faith and we all are praying for your future.

I do not believe this is the time for starting wars with fellow workers. Have respect for those who are loosing their jobs and others that are worried about their futures. This is not the time to attack others, but pray for them to recieve god's blessing for what the work they have done.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by 'elephants in the room"? I guess I'm still in a state of shock. Be it for this biennium or this month, we've at WTSS have been threatened with closing for so long its hard to remember what it feels like not to worry about tomorrow (at least through 2009). I feel for our coworkers at SBC - they are a class act for sure!

Who knows, maybe we can rid ourselves of a few members of our current lege before the next session:)

Anonymous said...

To the staff at SBC. Come on over to West Texas! We will welcome you with open arms. My hats off to all of you for hanging in there as we all went through this mess over the past few months. I can remember some of us joking around during training sessions about waiting for each other's facility to be closed so we could bring staff over to our own facility.

Anonymous said...

I know telling the Sheffield people they can come to West Texas is similar to telling a kid he can come live with his uncle after his parent's have died. Not much consolation, though I hope they all know they will indeed be welcome. I know the Sheffield people saw this coming, but it's still hard when it actually happens. All of you at Sheffield are in my thoughts and prayers. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Randy Foster

Anonymous said...

The Sheffield situation was politics from day one. I never heard anything on the TYC grapevine that was negative about the Sheffield employees. I have never been there, but I have talked with several people who have, and they all had positive things to say about the attitude of the employees. I am sad for them, and hope that at least some of them can make the commute to WTSS to continue employment with TYC. Maybe TYC can set up van-pools to help them out?

Anonymous said...

I understand that they had a vanpool already going at Sheffield for the staff that lived away from the facility. We've been trying to get something similiar for our staff at WTSS that live in Odessa and Midland. SBC staff should be able to keep the vanpool going at WTSS and maybe they can help us by organizing a vanpool for our Odessa/Midland staff. If we get something like this started it would help tremendously in our recruiting efforts. I know several people who would like to work out here at WTSS but they cannot afford to drive out here five times a week with the gas prices being so high. Can someone help us out with this?

Anonymous said...

Yesterday Nedelkoff mentioned providing transportation for SBC employees to WTSS. I thought that was thinking ahead for sure - which I have found over the years NOT to be the norm for TYC. I just hope our HR department is ready for this one...we have all new people in there and not many in Central Office who were around for the Marlin/San Saba transitions.

We have a couple of HR retirees out of West Texas who we may be able to consult in a pinch and get us through this - Thank goodness.

I hope we will hear something soon about a treatment program - the youth and the staff are getting pretty tired of 'treading water'. Its a catch as catch can using a little resocialization here and a little 'what we think is best' there and hoping we're doing the right thing. Our youth crave routine and stability, both of which we are struggling to maintain primarily due to no treatment plan...but I won't beat this dead horse any longer - our prayers are with Sheffield staff.

Anonymous said...

I guess the message is still the same:

Pack up your camels and asses. We're going to the Promised Land.

Anonymous said...

The loaf comment is made towards Evins. That's all they do down here. Loaf, you know. Lay around, kick back, chill, Siesta.

Anonymous said...

Howard,

You're right, that is an interesting post at Quorum Report (unfortunately I'm not a subscriber and so can't read the entire thing).

Seems to be similar to what I've been arguing here - that another Morales type settlement may loom over TYC if changes aren't made.

However, IMO, the new conservator is showing a lot of promise. By historical comparison, no parallel effort was undertaken in the years before Morales. It is a moment of possibility but it remains to be seen whether fed intervention on a large scale happens.

Had TYC stayed its recent course, I think it was only a matter of time, maybe when a new DOJ came into power in January 2009. Now I am less sure of that. Mr. Nedelkoff is moving in a very positive direction even though it is very early and much remains to be done.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

your right the HR staff that did all the closures are gone. Paul knows but that's it. Pat is so burned out by now bless her heart. M Wood has no idea what to do maybe she can call Eric..NOT!

Anonymous said...

Whether M Wood knows what to do or not, she has 2 Regional Managers who helped out with the closure of Hamilton, Marlin, and San Saba. They know what to do.

Anonymous said...

Did anyboby notice that new JCO staff can come in making a lot more money now? Too bad central office doesn't think the local HR departments are smart enough to figure out if these people have a degree or juvenile justice experience. They have to send their information to M Wood.

Anonymous said...

As one of the "walking wounded" from Coke County, I am pleased to see that someone actually showed this facility some respect. Unless you are involved in this system you have no idea how little respect is given to a group of people that are asked to deal with unspeakable things and children that no one wants to live next door too. I wish you the best and don't worry...you weren't drug in the dirt as was CCJJC so it will be easy for you to stay in this line of work if you have the fortitude.

I am new to this site and am impressed so far.

God bless any and all of you that choose to take on juvenile justice. It is the most difficult and rewarding job I have ever had. For those of you that are so quick to judge the tactics and scenarios that we live(d) daily, I dare you to take on a 6'ft plus, 300lb, mentally disturbed youth and come out in one piece! The majority of TYC youth are not nice kids. They are repeat offenders, frequently violent, and difficult to manage at best.

Anonymous said...

8:51,
there is still such a thing as the transitional treatment program....

Anonymous said...

2/28/2008 10:12:00 PM wrote.

"Would you care to explain what going back to an "8 hour loaf" has to do with teachers who don't do anything, yet more are needed?"

I'll bet that has to do with the situation in Pyote. People don't have the stomach for mentioning names,myself included. But its fraud and waste and everybody there knows who it is. Everybody knows even those who should know better.

Anonymous said...

I know that many of us do not have confidence in HR. But since Sheffield personnel level is already very low level, it should not be too difficult to process the pending closure.

I think that it will be very difficult for Wood to screw this one up. Not that I trust her ability to do anything because, I don't. The lady can't even hold-on to the employees in her office. So don't expect her to contribute much towards TYC's retention problems.

About the only that she is good at is hiring her buddies from TDCJ. The latest count is at eight.

Four in CO-(nice enough to keep one in Crockett).

Four HRAS-Al Price, Crockett, W. Texas, and Evins.

If given the chance, she'll want nothing but TDCJ people. We all know TDCJ's track record in TYC!

Anonymous said...

They treat the remaining HR people like sh*t. They think they're stupid because they didn't come from TDCJ. It's no wonder they're all gone. Even the HR people in the field are mostly all new.

And Wood had the audacity to tell Whitmire she was not thinking like TDCJ!

Anonymous said...

M Wood and her TDC cronies "are not long for this world" either. Just hang in there!! She's already been called on the carpet with her TDC mentality. They are watching her and her buddies in the field and central office. You can't can't get rid of the stystem disease until the core of it's cause is severed, which are all the TDCJ cronies she's hired!! Wonder how many arms she twisted to get them hired out in the field??

The Evil Dr. Papschmear said...

7:16 Randy Foster, Being able to go and live with a uncle when your parents have died is a whole lot better than being left out in the cold with nowhere to go. That single comment is stereotypical of cynicism and negativity that you bring to your so-called training classes.

Anonymous said...

Cheap shot, the guy sounds like he was trying to be compassionate toward the Sheffield employees. Hope the guy defends himself since you seem to be sitting in judgement, assuming you have attended his classes. How petty.

Anonymous said...

This is the line in the story that jumped out at me:

"The number of offenders in Youth Commission facilities has been reduced by about half since a sex-abuse scandal last year."

Is that true?

Anonymous said...

Hey Dr. Evil - that was a cheap shot. A worthless comment.

Anonymous said...

Almost half. We had about 4,500 last year about this times to about 2500 now (in residential settings).

Anonymous said...

Wow, Evil, whatever I did to offend you I'm sorry. I know I've made people angry before, but I must've really upset you. I'll admit that I can be pretty cynical, but I don't think I was being negative with this statement. I was just trying to be empathic. I imagine you wish to remain anonymous, but if you would like to talk about it sometime, I'm open.

Randy Foster

Anonymous said...

According to the Texas Comptroller travel guide, it is 112.4 miles from Sheffield to WTSS. That is a long commute! Driving that far would be dangerous, not to mention expensive. Even a van pool for almost 2 hours each way would be onerous before and after working a 12 hour shift with the kids. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Actually, old salty, the commute from Ft. Stockton to Pyote is about the same as it was to Sheffield. It just isn't interstate. It is dangerous, but there's actually less deer. The problem will be cultural, more than travel.

Anonymous said...

Its 2 hours from Sheffield, 1 hour from Ft. Stockton.

Anonymous said...

3/1/08 5:53 AM

I concur with you.

I hope that M WOOD is finally held accountable. She has not done anything other than weaken the HR department.

It is common knowledge in CO that back in August 07, Wood took an entire interview pool home and left it in the car. It just happened that her car got broken into that evening and the interview pool was stolen. This pool included the state applications, which as you know it has SSN, DOB, address, etc. So I am pretty sure that her stupidity has caused severe problems to the people who were in that pool. I can only imagine how I will feel if my personal information was stolen.

Being that Wood came from TDCJ, Pope did nothing to her for this BIG screw up. She should have been fired on the spot. Instead, Pope got rid of Young and "quietly" moved her into his job. Pope kept preaching "transparency" but that only applied to us the TYC employees-not to her croonies.

Hopefully, the new management quickly realizes that Wood isn't any good and sends her packing back to Huntsville.

Anonymous said...

The two regional HR managers know what do do - yeah, RIGHT! What planet are you living on? One of them is spending all her time, plus that of Brownwood staff, training, and training and training the new TDCJ transfer HRA at WTSS plus the new clerk. This training has been going on since January - I guess it hasn't taken yet???

Oh well - looks like Mary Wood slid one more in under the radar - I thought CO was told not to hire any more TDCJ people a few months back. I guess field staff don't count. Hopefully this one will catch on eventually. As stated in an earlier post - there are a few former HR people still around that can probably help us out through this transition - if properly asked.

Anonymous said...

8:50 -
'transition treatment program' - yeah right. Is that what you call our current 'release and catch' plan?

Anonymous said...

If people are willing to drive that far to work with the kids, even though the oil fields are booming, it just goes to show how dedicated and underappreciated they really are. Kudos to them! Old Salty

Anonymous said...

10:26 a.m., yes the Divine Ms. M is picking up where her cohort Pope left off. She has hired two TDCJ people at WTSS. The HRA and the Youth Rights Specialist. It would be interesting to know if the rest of the TYC facilities have been experiencing the TDCJ fallout as well!!

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised about M. Wood messing up. But I am surprised that nothing has been done about she losing an entire applicant pool. I can think of a much bigger mess up than that one. When Pope was here she walked around like she owned the place. But so far I haven't seen her produce much of anything.

It is noted on a daily basis that her office is unable to do much right. If you call her office you can answer to anything. That is if you can a call back to your message. It is time for a change. We are on the way to recovery and we have no place for Wood in TYC.

Anonymous said...

can someone post who works in HR now? and what they do? why didn't anyone say anything about Wood losing applications. I never even got a letter about my application being recieved now I have to worry that my information may be lost. Who should someone contact about this?

Anonymous said...

nope. there is a transitional program and it certainly is not catch and release. basically resoc with different lingos and less detailed requirements.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that Mary Wood is getting an unfair rap here. Eric Young is a nice guy, but under his "leadership" the central office HR department was highly disfunctional. It is a big job to bring up the level of professionalism in HR, but at least Wood is trying. Get to know her, and you will find she was never a fan of the Pope.

Anonymous said...

5:42 am

There's nothing unfair been said about Wood. She's has quickly earned was she is getting. Wood and professionalism give me break! I guess is no big deal that she lost the identity information on a bunch of people? And got away with it!

I'm not surprised that Wood is saying that she is no "fan" of Pope. Especially, since Pope can't help her now. But when Pope was here, she was all in her grill. The woman has no loyalty to anyone, but to herself.

So if Wood wants to raise the level of professionalism in the HR office, a good first step would be for her to leave.

PS maybe she can help you, get your old job in TDCJ. That is, if they want her and you back!

Anonymous said...

To 05:42:00 AM

yeah right! NOT. You need to go back with her but I am sure they probably don't want you back either.

Anonymous said...

They announced Alfonzo as Chief. It's in the DMN website. But was it the Gov.,or Mr. N's choice?

Anonymous said...

The DMN says Perry and I believe it. N strikes me as more intelligent than that. Perry doesn't.

Anonymous said...

just know there is not enough kids in TYC now to have all the staff working there now. If I were you I would start looking, more pink slips to come and no one knows what to do.

Anonymous said...

I concur. As TYC gotten smaller, HR has gotten bigger. They need to get smaller to match the agency's new size. That means that Wood needs to quit hiring her friends from TDCJ.

Yet, they still unable to provide quality service. Conservator do TYC a favor and find someone who can run HR. And is responsible enough to keeps HR records from being stolen.

Anonymous said...

02/29/08 - 8:44: You hit the nail right on the head! Not sure who you are, but I am proud to say I worked with you.

Anonymous said...

Wood needs to go, right along with those mess ups she has hired to run things. Not only can you not get an answer to anything, you can't get them to answer the phone. I just bet she's not a fan of Pope - how convenient now that Pope caught a ride on the rails. She should be next. I have no confidence in the HR department there.

Anonymous said...

You're right, central office HR gets bigger, but the field offices remain the same even though they dumped the halfway houses and district offices off to the field. I feel so sorry for those people in the field. They are run ragged. Mind you I'm not complaining about the office that we got. They're at least able to help me when I need it.

Anonymous said...

So just who was it in HR under Eric who would answer the phone and give you good guidance on personnel matters?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the creation of regional positions, including those in HR, a Pope edict? Why blame central office HR for that?

Anonymous said...

To 6:11

Who in HR was answering the phone and giving good guidance? Simple, people who knew what they were talking about because they understood the agency and knew HR.

Oh, I'm sorry, what do you have now? You have Matthew who has bounced from agency to agency at an alarming rate. And you have Spanky (hard to believe that an old man would want to be called that) a TDCJ reject, who Wood gave a job that he isn't qualified for. Also don't forget about the rest of Wood's flunkies.

Go back to TDCJ!

Anonymous said...

One good thing about the HR department in central office is if you don't like the answer you get in the field, you can call them (if they ever answer the phone) and get whatever you want. All you have to do is threaten a grievance.

Anonymous said...

6:11 -- do an open records request on who left CO HR since July 2007. Count all the people that left (you will need 2 hands). Then realize that those were the people who could answer the phone or even call you back with a correct answer.

There is only 2 people there who can still do that. PB and PR are stil there and hanging tough...

Anonymous said...

I know the list...

Karen Collins Giles -- booted out by Pope & now working for the Comptroller
Lara Foronda -- left for another state agency - Water Board
Diane Bohman -- left for corporate
Latha Ramachandran -- left for another state agency - Fire Protection
Reinaldo Rivera -- left for another state agency - Environment Quality
Amy Johnson -- left for another state agency - Licensing Board
Patricia Alcantar -- left for another state agency - Licensing Board
Mary Escobar -- left for another state agency - Environment Quality
Bonnie Phillips -- retired
Betty Fields -- retired
Barbara -- retired
Debbie Houser -- left for another state agency, but went back to TYC to work for Parole
Debbie Gonzales -- still at TYC but got moved to IRD
Eric Young -- booted out by Pope & now working for HHSC

This leaves Paul, Pat, Sheri, Robert, Wesley, Alvin, Donald, and Royce from the old regime...

X Marlin emp said...

wow great for E Young, so he is working at the BH bldg.? I hope he does well. I would love to see his face when he enters that bldg. I am glad to see all the HR staff got other jobs. Good for them, they are missed in the field.....they were good people. If they are reading....hello folks from the old Marlin and San Saba.........you are missed

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