Monday, September 08, 2008

Is TYC's central administration too top heavy?

If youth inmate levels are down, asks Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, why has the number of administrators gone up? And why are TYC administrators so highly paid? From the Houston Chronicle this morning, we see this story ("Bureaucratic ranks swell at TYC," Sept. 8):

From its headquarters in Austin, 368 administrators oversee the state's juvenile correctional agency, 47 more than early last year, when TYC had 4,000 offenders in its lockups, nearly double today's number. As the offender population has dwindled — the result of a new state law that closed the agency to offenders ages 18 to 21 and offenders sentenced on misdemeanors — the total cost of paying all those employees has risen by nearly a quarter, to $18.7 million a year.

Some lawmakers say agency bigwigs have shown a willful disregard for reining in expenses. Last month, the chair and co-chair of the joint committee that oversees the agency asked the state auditor, John Keel, to step in and investigate.

"It's an agency of high-priced employees in the central office trying to protect salaries and turf," Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, the chairman of the joint committee and one of the letter writers, said last week. ..

"Instead of spending money retaining and attracting new (juvenile correctional officers), TYC has chosen to increase central office personnel," Whitmire and Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano, said in their letter to the auditor.

While I'm sympathetic to this complaint, we shouldn't understate the extent to which the new "bureaucracy" created last year stems from a legislative mandate to make kids safer and provide greater oversight to an out-of-control agency. When you add oversight, you simultaneously add warm bodies to implement the new functions.

TYC's staffing levels were set by the Texas Legislature during the budget process and new reforms implemented last year required hiring more administrators, as noted in the story by conservator Richard Nedelkoff, including in the much-ballyhooed Office of the Inspector General. Then interim executive director Dimitria Pope established more layers of bureaucracy in the agency, actions Whitmire's committee was informed about and approved of at the time. She also made the top-level hires legislators are complaining about now - particularly general counsel Steve Foster and government affairs/PR man Jim Hurley - and set their original salaries, but no one from the Lege complained about it then.

It's worth pointing out another key fact regarding overall staffing levels: 18 months ago TYC was woefully understaffed and couldn't come close to implementing its required 12:1 staffing ratio. Indeed, at many units the ratio routinely exceeded 24-1.

So during the same period the Lege added oversight and the interim E.D. added new layers of bureaucracy, staffing in the field, for the first time in many years, began to approach levels of normalcy. (The biggest staffing crisis continues to occur, last I heard, at the intake center in Mart, but other units reportedly are mostly meeting their staffing requirements thanks to guarding far fewer kids.) So to a certain extent, the Lege had been shortchanging TYC for quite a while and its increased per-unit costs are merely a function of the agency coming much closer to meeting its baseline obligations.

Finally, as for comparing TDCJ salaries with TYC's, if TYC administrators lived in Huntsville instead of Austin, maybe they could get by on lower base pay. Move TYC admin to Pyote, for example, and I'm sure their folks could get by on less. But as long as they live in Austin, unless you tell me their salaries are higher than at the Department of Insurance, for example, where Jim Hurley worked previously, that doesn't seem like a fair comparison

If folks in the Legislature now want to change course from what they told TYC to do just a year ago, that's certainly their prerogative. With adequate funding and services in place, I'd probably support Chairman Whitmire's plan to shift most of these kids downstream to be handled in counties, as California is doing. But it's not particularly helpful in this writer's opinion to blame agency management for implementing what the Lege told them to do.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have seen a dog chase its tail but I have never seen two dogs (Whitmire & Madden) chase each other's tails. What a mess they have made of things. I bet they now wish they had never turned the TYC rock over. After their experience with TYC one might think TDCJ is safe from the same type of review. On second thought, in the words of Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does". There seems to be plenty of stupid and greed around the Texas Legislature and Governor's Office so there is no telling what the next great embarrassment of Texas will center around.

Anonymous said...

There was a correction at one point that Madden said he was not included in the demand to audit TYC finances. Grit can you check that and give that credit to Madden if it is true. Whitmire mouths alot and everyone assumes it comes from the joint committee and it doesn't. Just the blow hard...

Anonymous said...

In a word: "Yes".

Anonymous said...

This seems to be a pretty obvious smokescreen for some other sort of objection to Nedelkoff's administration... although I can only guess at what that might be.

These same individuals were fairly mum about the ridiculous hiring decisions and wasteful expenditures of the Pope regime.

And for the umpteenth time, the lege critics get far more exercised about cost than about actually fixing the underlying problems that started this mess in the first place.

I'm hardly offering unqualified praise for Nedelkoff, but this dust-up seems like the latest evidence that he is in a very tough situation. At least, unlike his predecessor, he's managed to keep TYC out of the news for the most part.

Now the only time we hear about TYC is when someone in the lege wants to attack its conservator for spending too much money. Interesting.

BB

Anonymous said...

What has gone unchecked under all adminstrations since the beginning of the TYC "reform effort" has been the actions of executive managers that have been certainly less than ethical.

Deputy Commissioner Smith comes in from Maryland, hires someone from Louisiana to be a regional director, pays him $96,000 per year and then gives him access to state housing at an institution, which policy at the time and even now doesn't allow. Meanwhile the Asst. Supt at the institution is not allowed into housing which policy states she should have. So - you have regional executive staff in housing who don't respond to emergencies on campus when a key administrator has to drive in from elsewhere. (Past regional directors with little tenure were making high $60s to mid $70's with NO housing. Those with significant tenure topped out at $90 with no housing.) The duties haven't changed.

There are inequities in the salaries of all the Superintendents and Asst.s with GAPs as much as 13,000 to 15,000 per year in what they get paid for handling the same duties.

Requests for corrections in that are simply unanswered.

There should be an open records request on what those in the past positions were paid efore "reform" and what these new executives are making. NOT to mention an investigation into the extensive and expensive out of state travel expenses of Commissioner Smith in his 4 month tenure at the agency.

He schedules, re-schedules and then cancels nearly all his meetings and has yet to appear at any he does attend on time. He ought to be able to afford to buy a dependable watch.

Anonymous said...

I already checked and Smith is one of the lowest paid execs in CO. The other two deps have the higher salaries. Smith's out of state travel was to attend two corrections conferences. I couldn't really argue about them because most national JJ officials attended these same two conferences. Unless someone knows of other O-O-S travel expenses for Smith, there's not much there.

Anonymous said...

The main problem with Smith is that he won't make a decision. In fact, the main problem with the new executive administration is that they will not put anything in writing. The Pope administration did the same thing - they changed policy without officially changing policy.

Anonymous said...

One reason we have so many top
administrators now is that they have to watch the top staff at the various facilities. At the facility level we have the same old actors with the same old habits. Can we really expect them to change after 20 years in TYC? Let's get real.

So, the new administrators have to watch those, at the facility level, who have been masters at keeping everything hidden and at covering up their tracks. We can spend all we want, but the new administrators will never be able to catch the local rats because TYC has belonged to those rats for all these years - it's Chinatown.

Anonymous said...

One question that seriously needs to be looked at is just how much were these people making before they went to work for TYC. Steve Foster was making $70,000 in the private sector(which was the highest pay he ever made) before his nearly 50%increase to $104,000 and nearly 60% increase to $111,000
How many similar leaps are there for the outside hires, many of whom had very doubtfull credentials for their high paid positions? Aside from the outside hires, has any other TYC employee even received a 5% pay hike in the last year. Also that $111,000 pay rate is now $113,200 due to the 2%across the board state employee pay raise.

Howard A.Hickman

Anonymous said...

Nothing since the last across the board cost-of-living (?) for me. Merit eligble every year for the past five and nothing. Give a brotha' a bone - man.

Anonymous said...

What have the tax payers gotten for their money since the big remake of TYC? Ripped Off!

Anonymous said...

The "old guard" was paid less and did a better job. And if you are one of those that say the "abuse" is not occurring now like it was under the "old guard" think again. These high paid execs get paid better and let's face it, they are more polished than the "old guard" so they can "cover" it up better.

Anonymous said...

I think that if the new execs had produced more, then they might be worth the increase in salaries. But with increased administrataive staff and higher salaries, the agency still does not have an operational treatment program. Education is a shambles. The facilities are still short-staffed despite the reduction in youth in its care. The agency remains behind in releasing eligible youth. The JCO staff has not been given the skills necessary to manage a safe environment in the institutions. And the list goes on.

Anonymous said...

it is impossible for two individuals with their heads up each others anus to do anything but go round and round in circles. these two Madden/Whitmire have screwed up the adult probation system as well! they were supposed to be trying to attract and keep CSO's at probation departments by raising the salaries, but it seems only the administrations are getting pay raises of any consequences. way to go you 2..

Anonymous said...

Start off by doing away with regional staff..business managers,purchasers,maintenance.

They have nothing to do but travel and making money (perdium) and surfing the web while at the office.

Anonymous said...

There certainly is a balance between mandates and top heavy administration. The legislature certainly required many new staff to be hired but are there overlapping layers? I am not going to question the salaries of the executive staff, I am simply going to say treat your professional staff in the same manner. Pay them something that makes it worth their while to stay. Otherwise we will keep having shortages of staff requiring recruiters, worthless trainers, and new staff, over and over and over and over again.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know the assistant superintendent at the facility where the new LA dude lives, also lives in state housing.

Anonymous said...

9:34 PM 9/8/08 Hit the nail on the head. Do away with all the Regional Management High salaries and return those positions to central Office. This would cut out around 20 to 25 positions and save a hell of lot of money. It worked under the old manegment. Regional Field managment is wasted money.

Anonymous said...

What facility does the LA dude live?

Anonymous said...

You mention the "much ballyhooed OIG" but you fail to mention that the Pope took funds that were appropriated for investigators and spent it on hiring her cronies, some of whom are still employed at very high salaries in do-nothing jobs.

You are right, though, Mr. Whitmire had no problem with her outrageous spending. BTW, where is she working now? TDCJ would not take her back.

dirty harry said...

Grits asked:
"Is TYC's central administration too top heavy?"

It doesn't seem to be top-heavy in education. As far as education goes, it appears to be lacking is some areas. As far as corrections goes, I don't know.

Anonymous said...

08/29/2008 L.B.B. Joint Budget Hearing: Texas Youth Commission

http://www.house.state.tx.us/media/additional/80.htm

Anonymous said...

There is ridiculous excess and duplication in the regional everythings that were created under Pope and continued under the present administration. Regional Directors are one thing, but regional maintenance managers, regional purchasers, regional business managers, and regional human resource managers? For what purpose? What value do they all add? All they do is add cost, dupication and delays. BTW, I am not criticizing the individuals in these positions, I am criticizing the organizational philosophy. Some of these individuals are outstanding people.

Anonymous said...

Anyone listen to the LBB hearing?
Looks bad for Corsicana and the pshy's.

Anonymous said...

Based on the argument that Austin is more expensive to live in shouldnt the rest of the TYC satff including those at the lower pay grades make more money. That seems to be one of the points both TYC admin and yourself (Grits) make in your justification.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

They kinda are, de facto, 7:38 - that's partly why the facilities are all in rural areas, so they can keep front-line pay lower than it would have to be in the urban areas where most kids actually come from.

Anonymous said...

The entire issue of regional managers seems to have been misunderstood by Ms. Pope even though she was a major impetus for them being created. She was openly critical of the previous TYC administration for allowing the institutions to operate as semi-independent "islands" with local managers more aligned with local leaders than CO leaders. A legitimate concern, but one that she blew out of proportion to serve her own agenda. The solution was supposed to be to increase central office control and accountability through standardized procedures and more CO oversight. However, Texas is a big state and people in Austin have a hard time keeping an eye on everything. Therefore the idea was to create regional management teams, more closely aligned with CO but physically closer to the institutions. However, this was supposed to mean FEWER administrators in CO, not more. And these regional managers were supposed to actively support and assist their institutions so that there might even be some positions reduced there as well. I'm not sure this was ever a great idea, but that was how it was supposed to play out. One benefit I could see was that if TYC moved toward the idea of having more, but smaller, facilities of various types in each region (as was being called for at one point) then having functional regional management teams in place could avoid duplicating some functions at each individual site (purchasing, HR, etc.). As with most plans, it comes down to implementation and adjusting to changes. Ms. Pope clearly missed the boat and there has been such turnover in upper management in the past 18 months that people are continuing to inherit what others have started (or screwed up) without a solid understanding of the plan or purpose. Let's hope some stability at the top will improve this silliness.
>Don Brantley

Anonymous said...

Lets just hope that the new executive director recognizes the wrong Pope created and makes it right. That's all we can ask for, and I hope it happens. Wasn't Pope supposed to be some organizational expert? My ass. I recall how she used to blink rapidly right when she fired someone. Well, I was flashing my lashes when she got hers in the end. Ding Dong.

Anonymous said...

True. The legislators demanded greater oversight and that's what many of these positions in central office provide. But they didn't really mean it. Look at how poorly they funded the OIG. It's even sadder to look at the OIO budget--300K/yr.

But when you compare the OIO with CO folks, you'll be as startled as I was to find that the head of it is only a B13 and his staff are B9. Talk about a joke!

Anonymous said...

While it is true more positions than what are required were created when the lovely Ms. Pope was in charge the question should be why have they been allowed to remain. TYC is under conservatorship, which means one swirl from the magic wand and they are gone, but this has not occurred.

CO was too big back when all this began and yes it has bloated to the point where nothing gets done in a timely manner.

The Silos that Ed Owens spoke of were non-existent, but try explaining that to a person who spent more time worrying about collecting his TDCJ retirement than trying to lead an agency that was handed to him.

While it is true that a lack of communication existed prior to debacle out west, this was based upon the leaders in CO who would rather have the regional directors in Austin rather than in the field doing their jobs. And for those that failed to accomplish their jobs while in the field (WTSS) our leaders in CO should have cleaned house when this was brought to their attention.

The Silos are now existent today brought about by those castaway by TDCJ (Owens, pope, Humphrey) because TDCJ knew a golden opportunity existed to rid themselves of dead weight and poor TYC was a deer in the headlights.

But if my memory serves me correctly was it not John Whitmire who praised the leadership of the now unemployed Pope?

Anonymous said...

Of interest - Foster and Hurley were Kimbrough's people. What about the paychecks for Owens/Pope's folks, like Strong, Wood, Garrett, Toney, Ruiz and Chavers? And then there are Nedlekoff's picks; Royal, Smith, Gadow and Martinez? What is the ROI on all that moolah? Why is the maistream so focused on one piece of the past, instead of the whole picture?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a big incestual pile of crap. Please let the sunset on TYC once and for all.

Anonymous said...

I think someone said a while back. Flush the toilet already. BTW G, why is all the name calling being allowed here again? Thought you did not want to name mid lev people, said that was trolling right? Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we just get back to trying to rehabilitate youth and keep them out of TDCJ? Old Salty

Anonymous said...

I just saw that Pat Logterman and Corrine Sanders have filed suit against TYC. Add them to the list - I hope to see more.

Anonymous said...

I hear they have a good case. I hope they take them to the cleaners. They were done wrong just like alot of others.

Anonymous said...

CoNextions, meet Ike. Looks like Beaumont's gonna get the right front quaud of Ike. If Rita did that much damage the last time, I bet Ike nails that facilty even harder this time. Just let it wash away that CoN!

Anonymous said...

How can they file suit when they both resigned? No one forced them to resign. They may have been given an option, but they chose their own fate - so what's the basis of the lawsuit? Can't be wrongful termination? I knew they shouldn't have resigned.

State holds copyright on Resocialization I thought. So what's the basis for their suit? I hope they win too but I'm a bit miffed...

Anonymous said...

Resignation under duress (threat of termination) is not a voluntary resignation. It's called a 'constructed termination' and in many cases entitles an employee to the same legal rights and due process as an outright termination. Before TYC employees were made 'at will', the due process rights were significant. I understand that some of those Ms. Pope bullied into resigning tried to access those rights and were denied. Seems to me that gives them a fair legal argument for unjust termination and/or denial of due process. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

When's the last time someone outs ide of Austin got a 7% merit raise?

Anonymous said...

9/11/08 7:30pm
That is so crude, we sit here awaiting to see what type of destruction that Ike is going to cause our area along with others and you wish it to come so it can destroy the CoNextions program--if you have not figured it out, CoNextions is here to stay and you might as well jump on the band wagon. This program will not work if we don't all work together to make it happen. For those of us from the coastal areas, I pray that God will watch over us and families and our homes during this hurricane. God Bless you all.

Anonymous said...

I would think Ms. Townsend might have some say as to whether it will stay or not.

Anonymous said...

Yeah stay safe out there yall, but I agree with the former post regarding that so called treatment program.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I hear Central office is getting less top heavy...David Walenta moves as the ADED of Rehab to the PA Guru of SBTP in Giddings starting Monday...at least that's the rumor...any truth in it?
Signed, Ike takes out Walenta?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Al Price evacuated?

Anonymous said...

For the Top tier of TYC including the Lege.

Forgive Them Lord for They "Know Not" What They Do....

Anonymous said...

Yes, Al Price evacuated well ahead of the storm

Ham Head said...

JUVENILE RESIDENTIAL PROJECTED POPULATION FISCAL YEARS 2008–2013
Table 6: TYC Population and State-Operated Facility Capacity, Fiscal Years 2008–2013 PROJECTED POPULATION EXCEEDING STATE-OPERATED
FISCAL TYC POPULATION TYC STATE-OPERATED CAPACITY YEAR (END-OF-YEAR) FACILITY CAPACITY3 NUMBER
PERCENT 2008 2,348 2,510 (162) -6.5% 2009 2,589 2,510 79 3.1% 2010 2,849 2,510 339 13.5% 2011 2,960 2,510 450 17.9% 2012 3,096 2,510 586 23.3% 2013 3,073 2,510 563 22.4%

Increased referrals to TYC? Keep your bed space folks. Elmer's going to get the big, big "v." As in VETO.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard if CoNextions survived Ike?

Anonymous said...

Central office won't be less top heavy with Walenta back at Giddings. It will just finally have the opportunity to put someone into place that is qualified for the job.

I am not sure what upper level management positions at Central Office could be eliminated.

To me there should be very few staff (as opposed to over 300) who actually never spend time providing direct services to youth or are never at an institution. For example, treatment specialists and other lower tier positions could be more effectively implemented at facilities where these responsibilities were split with actual clinical field work. This would help to fill vacant positions, providing more available resources at institutions where they are needed. It would also reduce the feeling that central office directives were being made without input from the field.

The human resources department could easily be reduced in size by paying field level employees reasonable wages. No need for regional recruiters and all that nonsense. just pay a market wage and take care of your qualified professional and direct care staff.

Anonymous said...

Looks like that CoN job is out of service for a while. No facility assessments reported because they aint letting no one in there or Houston. It may be worse than Rita. If it paused Con, then that's good enough because evryone who is hosting those CoN kids can see just what a CoN JoB is coming there way should they stay the course.

Anonymous said...

Looks like that CoN job is out of service for a while. No facility assessments reported because they aint letting no one in there or Houston. It may be worse than Rita. If it paused Con, then that's good enough because evryone who is hosting those CoN kids can see just what a CoN JoB is coming there way should they stay the course.

Anonymous said...

The youth from Al Price are doing quite well. They should be a model for all TYC facilities. Why does everyone think our kids are so bad, please step back and look at your own first before you cast stones.

Anonymous said...

Al Price must have fired the Barber. These kids haven't had a haircut in who knows when. The liberal left has taken over down there. These kiddos think they are running the show. It is obvious by their looks and demeanor.

Program ? A high dollar CON Job is what we are seeing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 10:08 pm., The Al Price youth are doing quiete well, better than our own youth. They seem to be somewhat respectful. My concern is the Al Price staff. From what I understand and have heard from them is that they are not being treated fairly. They volunteered to leave their families behind to accompany the youth and are having to stay at the unit. What is that? If it was someone from Central Office, I bet they would be comfortably housed up in a hotel, instead of having to sleep on the same type of beds of the youth. There we go again, not taking care of the line staff!

Anonymous said...

TO: 9/14/2008 04:54:00 PM

Walenta is just going to "set up" the SBTP expansion at Giddings...likely he will retain his high dollar salary. I agree with you that since the reform, there have been even more positions centralized in Administration than diverted to the field with regionalized or local level positions, leaving on-site clinical supervision and training lacking. Much is demanded from CMs and PSs (and JCO) staff without the local on-site clinical supervision --though now there are even MORE layers of management that are not being utilized effectively. How many review panels, for example, are needed to release a youth or to assess why a youth is past his or her MLOS? When will DOCS step up and provide clinical supervision at the local level or is the answer to bring Central Office to do it for them--Again and again. Isn't the title '"DIRECTOR" OF CLINICAL SERVICES?' So, much of the DOCS "clinical responsibility" is diverted to "review panels" that NEVER existed before and STILL youth are beyond their MLOS and STILL facilities are unsafe, and still there is no "treatment program" but instead a "skills based program that is a ONE SIZE fits all --which was the criticism of the prior program. Slap another name on it, simplify it so that you don't need a high level of clinical skills to implement it and the State of Texas gives the facade of treatment. AND...if that doesn't work..then contract it out. Hum. Sounds like a waste of tax payers money and not good financial stewardship, by any means. Is that--gross financial mismanagement--like the one that lead to conservatorship--oh that's right we're moving "out" of conservatorship because there has been so much accomplished on the Central Office Rehabilitation Plan..Who ever believes that--I have some beach front property in Galvaston to sell you. How is it that just now, questions are being asked about the huge increases in salaries for Central Office and comparisons being made with other agencies? Who is reunning this "conservatorship" anyway? David Walenta, is just the tip of the iceberg..He like others has yet to step out to any of the facilities or to provide the clinical leadership under his license, but that's not any different than saying we do the C&SVOTP, than saying we provide CDTP, than saying we do MHTP, than saying there is rehabilititation in this agency. Throw a little money at it --that's reform under conservatorship. That is not reform, and the State of Texas will pay for the system they dismantled and the ONE SIZE FITS ALL (young, female, violent, sexual behavioral disorder, mental health, etc)that we now have.

I DO agree with you that the resources need to be diverted from Central Office to the field where they are desperately needed. What about salary increases to retain staff at the local (institutions /parole) level? We've seen what reform looks like with Central Office at the helm...Give ourselves pay raises and still we have staff to youth ratios out of compliance with legislation. Still we have high turnover and miserable retention rates.

It's time for the field to get some of the resources and have input...and Central Office IS top heavy! Time for liposuction.

Signed, Fed up...

Anonymous said...

Good job, 8:27. Field staff with merit eligible evaluations are told that there is no merit money available, while Central Office big wigs get 7% raises.

I was initially hopeful with Nedelkoff's appointment, but he has been a huge disappointment.

Anonymous said...

Hear hear CO. You better pay attention to what is being said here or reform will go nowhere as you will lose more and more treatment staff. The more dictatorial you are, the less you will accomplish in the field. Paying everyone in Austin more money but leaving those out who provide direct services to youth is backwards, stupid, and will have repercussions.

Did someone say SBTP expansion? What is there to expand? There is no SBTP program! and who is there to actually implement the expansion? Wow. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Well, back to the original question - is Central Office too top heavy?

Anonymous said...

It is getting more and more top-heavy almost daily. Look at all the postings for new positions in Central Office. Amazing!

Anonymous said...

That may be changing real soon. Word on the street is that about 50% of the Central Office staff is about to be riffed.

Magdiel from Motorcycle Fairings said...

That is exactly the problem, high salaries rip off the budget for other things so when the time to distribute, only a few benefit of it.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard of who may be the next GC in CO?

Home Decor said...

What would happen if the supervise the destination of the money and see if it's really lack of money of a bad administration of it.

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