Monday, November 18, 2013

TDCJ bigwigs got much bigger pay hikes than front-line COs

The Austin Statesman's Mike Ward reported ("Texas prison managers got double digit pay raises while rank and file got 5%," Nov. 17) that, in contrast to front-line prison employees who received a five percent pay raise in the new state budget, "Executive pay increases ranging from 8 percent to more than 23 percent were given in September to top leaders in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice."
The executive pay issue has arisen at agencies that include the Texas Department of Transportation, Employees Retirement System, Department of Public Safety and Texas Juvenile Justice Department. At those agencies, executive directors and some members of upper management teams are making six-figure salaries well in excess of the governor’s pay: $150,000 a year.

The prison-system raises ranged from a $66,000 increase for Dr. Lanette Linthicum, the medical director who went from $309,000 to $375,000; a $22,000 per-year increase for Carey Welebob, director of the Community Justice Assistance Division who went from $94,120 to $116,150; to a $16,600 increase for Deputy Executive Director Bryan Collier and Chief Financial Officer Jerry McGinty, who both went from $133,301 to $150,000.

Several other top officials received pay bumps of more than 12 percent, including Inspector General Bruce Toney, General Counsel Sharon Howell, Parole Director Stuart Jenkins, Facilities Director Frank Inmon and Chief of Staff Jeff Baldwin.

By contrast, the more than 23,000 correctional officers who make $37,000 or less got a 5 percent bump in pay.
Grits considers it bad form to count other people's money so I wouldn't join those "Prison employees [who] complain those pay hikes are too generous." But internally, the raises undoubtedly suffer from bad optics during a period when thousands of guard positions go unfilled thanks to low pay, grueling summer heat, and rural prisons located far outside Texas' main population centers. "Told of the executive raises, several corrections officers responded with expletives. None wanted to be quoted, citing a fear of job reprisals," Ward reported.

Perhaps it's true, as TDCJ insists, the raises were "necessary to retain top talent." But there's little doubt that low pay and poor morale have lately worsened retention rates for front-line correctional officers. Arguably that's a bigger problem for the agency than the risk that Brad Livingston or Sharon Howell might leave for higher paying gigs elsewhere in Huntsville.

7 comments:

dfisher said...

These raises are best described as "Institutional Bribery" by the State.

When you give government officials salaries far greater than they can make in the private sector, then you own them and honesty is out the door. If the appointed official refuse to follow the directions of the governor, then the official is removed.

Perry has done this several times.

Anonymous said...

Let's see...the medical services provided are poor quality and definitely lacking, yet the medical director, who was already making more than $300,000, gets a big raise. That's the nice thing about working for the government; job performance, results, etc., don't matter. You can suck at your job and still get a raise.

They are charging the inmates (families) $100 fees now. Let's see $66,000/100 = 660 inmate fees. $375,000/100 = 3750 inmate fees.

Anonymous said...

Isn't what that happened at TYC? There the insiders took care of each other and gobbled up all the goodies.

Anonymous said...

I should have wrote: Isn't that what happened at TYC?

Anonymous said...

If the thought is to raise the pay of Executive's to "retain" top talent, how about retaining talent throughout the ranks. I can assure you the pay increase does nothing for field or corrections officers. The demand on both field and corrections officers continues to grow while the pay remains the same. . .really execs?? Spend a month in the shoes of a field or corrections officer, then tell them they aren't worth a pay raise. . .

Anonymous said...

Happens in every state agency....Amazing what passes for news these days...

Anonymous said...

Everything about TDCJ is a joke. No one there needs a raise. The guards are a bunch of lazy jokes that like to treat inmates like crap, the rank and wardens just want to "put another notch on their bedpost" and the higher officials just want to be dictators! I have no use for any of them. They need to remember what TDCJ is really suppose to be...go back and read the mission statement. How can a person be reintegrated when they are constantly treated bad? Talk about recidivism....well, they are learning how to hate from the ones that are suppose to be promoting positive attitudes. That is the reason I don't work for the jerks anymore!