I am certain most of you are aware that the Sunset Advisory Commission met yesterday and voted 6-5 to abolish the Texas Youth Commission and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and to establish the Texas Juvenile Justice Department by September 1, 2010. It was clear during the discussion that everyone is most concerned with doing the right thing for youth and for our communities. There are differences of opinion on how that might best be accomplished. It’s important to keep in mind that this is merely a first step in a lengthy process that will continue throughout the legislative session and there could be any number of outcomes that result from this recommendation. While we will continue to observe the legislative process, remember that our jobs have not changed. Each day, we need to commit ourselves to providing the best service to our youth, our coworkers, and the State of Texas. As an agency on the path of reform, your competence, dedication and exemplary service is more critical than ever.
Today, I am releasing the second phase of our agency right-sizing efforts. As we have been discussing, it is necessary to adjust our workforce to reflect the agency's reduced youth population and our current appropriations. It is important to note that throughout our right-sizing efforts, we have maintained our commitment to best practice workloads and staffing ratios for juvenile justice and specialized treatment in our staffing plan. JCO staffing/supervision ratios of 1:12, case manager ratios of 1:16 and 1:8 (specialized), and teacher ratios of 1:10 (average) are maintained as we right-size our workforce. And, we have been very careful to ensure that we are maintaining appropriate teacher certifications within our educational programs.
We will be eliminating approximately 430 positions throughout our institutions, effective March 1, 2009. While a number of those positions are currently unfilled, 100 employees will be losing their jobs. By the time you receive this email, most of those who are affected by this latest Reduction in Force (RIF) will have been notified.
I am committed to doing everything possible to assist those affected by this layoff. Human Resources will conduct one-on-one sessions with each affected employee to provide them with specific information about opportunities for transfer to other TYC facilities. Those affected will be given priority consideration to fill vacancies for which they are qualified. Those who would like to transfer to a vacancy at another facility will be reimbursed up to $500 for moving expenses.
While this is a difficult time, this reorganization and downsizing is necessary to accommodate our current youth population and budgetary constraints. There will be one additional step in our right-sizing efforts that will contain a final round of staff reductions, as well as possible facility closures. I expect to announce these actions within a few weeks.
We are all sorry to be losing friends and coworkers whose service and dedication has helped our reform efforts. However, while this time of transition is sometimes painful, it is not endless. Please continue to do your best work and I promise to keep you informed on events affecting our agency.
I'm enabling comments on this post, for now, but please stay on topic and play nice.