Sunday, February 10, 2008

Insider baseball, venom in TYC debates harms others besides participants

The Texas Youth Commission posts on this blog have always drawn easily the most vociferous debate. I can't read every comment on Grits anymore, though I try to enforce two comment rules: I delete outright libelous comments when they come to my attention, or those which make personal attacks without engaging in any argument. But any reader knows that leaves a WIDE range of strongly held opinions that I typically allow to run free:

This comment showed this morning on an older post, reacting to recent media attacks and more specifically to rude and indignant blog comments about the new TYC conservator:
I am a social worker who has spent my whole adult life working for children and families, trying to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. I was married to Richard Nedelkoff for 16 years specifically because I saw in him the passion to help people all his life. He didn't take the easy way out and become an attorney when he could have. He has dedicated his life to helping youth and families and has made a huge impact in many different states. I have two wonderful children who have had to move all over the country, give up friends, deal with new schools, and start over because of their father's commitment to helping youth. We are not rich and have struggled our whole lives but we both feel we have made a difference. Though we are no longer married I still have great respect for Richard and know him to be a honest and forthright leader who cares about his staff and the kids. Please don't get caught up in the political circus and ruin a good man's reputation. Please remember his 16 year old daughter who still feels she can make a difference in the world and his 12 year old son are reading the newspaper. Please don't get sucked in to the politicians web of destruction. Change is difficult, but if you ask the staff of TYC they all believe that change needs to happen at the dysfunctional agency. Please be careful in biting off your nose to spite your face. Richard is already making important changes at TYC. Please do not ruin a good man's reputation and destroy two children just for the sake of a story. Please make sure you have ALL your facts straight.


Kristen Nedelkoff
Good advice all the way around.

For TYC blog commenters, in particular, let me add, "what she said." And not just regarding Richard Nedelkoff. I've deleted comments about Dimitria Pope several times that went WAY over the top, and given the kind of thing I let go, that's saying something!

But a recent email exchange with a capitol beat reporter reminds me it would also behoove professional media to carefully heed her admonishment, "don't get sucked in to the politicians web of destruction."

A prime example has been the Austin Statesman's Mike Ward's coverage of alleged conflicts of interest by Nedelkoff with his now-former employer. Senate Criminal Justice Chairman John Whitmire has been acting executive director Dimitria Pope's most vocal and strident champion, and now that she's not going to be the permanent executive director, the Chairman has taken to attacking Nedelkoff in the press.

First we get complaints that the conservator plans to raise the salary of the new executive director to attract national-level talent. Personally I'm thrilled with that news - I don't know how you'd get anyone worth a damn to take the thankless job, which must be now the highest profile agency head in the state.

Whitmire, who Ward calls a "close friend" of Ms. Pope, says he's "seriously concerned" about the decision to (possibly) increase the salary of her successor. I'd wager, though, that if Chairman Whitmire took the job managing TYC at $160,000, the high end of the proposed range, he'd have to take a pay cut.

Next came complaints from the Dean of the Senate that Nedelkoff had not severed ties to the firm Eckerd Youth Services, where he'd worked for less than a year before taking the TYC gig, and was bringing in temporary assistants who worked for the state of Florida, which contracts with Eckerd. So Nedelkoff resigned his private sector job to avoid any "appearance of impropriety," after which Ward published another Whitmire broadside:

Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, D-Houston, said Nedelkoff's resignation will not resolve the concerns.

"By leaving, he's almost raised more questions — like does he plan to go back to Eckerd, does Eckerd now plan to do business with Mr. Nedelkoff's agency, things like that," Whitmire said. "It's what I don't yet know about all these relationships that concerns me the most."

Whitmire, co-chairman of a special legislative panel overseeing Youth Commission changes, said he intends to investigate the deals further in upcoming legislative hearings. "And I'm sure the (legislative committees) in Florida are going to be just as interested in all this as we are," he said.

Apparently the Chairman (and hence Ward) literally cannot be satisfied: He's unhappy because Nedelkoff didn't leave his old job, then wants to conduct an investigation when he does. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Ward and Whitmire are fast becoming like a tag team for generating negative stories about the new conservator's personnel decisions. The reporter I mentioned opined that Ward's recent coverage amounted to "irresponsible journalism" that does a "disservice to the public," declaring "First Whitmire wants him to quit. Then Whitmire says his quitting raises new questions. And Mike Ward laps it all up." I'd earlier called Whtimire's criticisms a "cheap shot." My reporter friend felt even more strongly, declaring "it makes me OUTRAGED."

If there's a media-worthy story here, it's that the senator is retaliating against the conservator for failing to hire his close friend as the permanent executive director, a job for which she applied but was informed she would not receive. So he launches these specious attacks.

Just over a month ago at the dawn of the new year, I wrote that everyone in the TYC saga should resolve to "take a deep breath" and give the new conservator a chance to get his sea legs. It's time to renew that resolution. Thanks to the conservator's ex for reminding us that the viciousness that characterizes modern politics harms more than just those at whom we aim our venom.


Anonymous said...

Honored to great the ex as I have been to meet welcome her former. Makes me wonder if Whitmire's ex would say anything nice about him.

Anonymous said...

Mike Ward has hated TYC for years. Someone should check out his history. And I'm talking about his ex-wife....

Anonymous said...

Mr. Nedelkoff,
Please stay. Thanks for being THE stabilizing factor. There are a bunch of us who appreciate you.

Anonymous said...

You are 100% correct on Elmer and Ward, Grits. You had to know I was going to jump on this one....

I really wish someone is Houston would stand up and challenge Whitmire on 09. It goes beyond the 80th. Elmer is showing his ugly head and playing his nasty politics when the overwhelming consensus is that Pope is not right for this agency. It's becoming a problem for the agency to move forward with these needed reforms when you have such an inept leader as Pope making very, very bad decisions. In many employees’ minds, we just cannot move forward with this obstacle in our way.

Keep pushing guys. Raise hell and support Nedlekoff.

As far as Ward goes: why do you suppose that the AP never publishes any of his articles? I challenge you to find just one because I couldn't. Don't you think that says something? What's the deal with him anyway? Why is he so angry with TYC? Is it because his ex-wife used to work at TYC as the PR person? Who knows.

Anonymous said...

If there's a media-worthy story here, it's that the senator is retaliating against the conservator for failing to hire his close friend as the permanent executive director

I could kiss your right now, Scott. ;)

How refreshing it is when someone has the balls to just PUT IT OUT THERE. So, so obvious.

Too bad none of those balls belong to the MSM.

Most of us tagged Ward as an irresponsible scaremonger just this side of yellow early last summer. I have my own theory (unsubstantiated as it is) as to why he might take some very personal pleasure in tearing down TYC, but that's neither here nor there. Ahem.

Regardless...MIKE WARD, get some balls. Or some brains. THE REAL 'STORY' HERE IS SO DAMN OBVIOUS.

You gotta be dumber than a box of rocks to not be able to see it.

Anonymous said...

Of course Ward can't piss off Elmer...then he might actually have to work for a living instead of just getting stories spoon-fed to him with unfettered access to the back rooms of the capitol. A good journalist would put covering news stories over keeping friends in high places. Ward is weak. He knows the truth but it scares him. Amen Scott...lay it out there.

Anonymous said...

I still believe there has to be some motive for this to be taking place (Whitmire protecting Pope).

Whitmire has to know she has polarized this agency and made numerous, numerous, mistakes. So why would he defend her so valiantly?

I would only go down this same road if the person/persons in question were my Wife, Children, Parents, and some family members. I would say my mistress or girlfriend but that would conflict with my wife. So why would anyone travel this road, he cannot be that ignorant? We need to dig deeper and see what we can find. At this time Mr. N has our support and will continue to have it based upon his willingness to take on this task.


Anonymous said...

What took you so long to figure out that Ward's stories are unreliable and skewed? It has been obvious for months.

Anonymous said...

Grits, FWIW, I totally agree with your reporter friend on Whitmire.

He has done as much as anyone to immiserate the kids in TYC, and is embarrassing himself rapidly as the latest in a long line of corrupt pols who have used juvenile justice for their own ends in Texas history.

Bill B.

Anonymous said...

Commentors raised the Mike Ward question months ago and no one bit.

Whitmire is the personification of evil politics and Mike Ward is allowing himself to be used. Ward is far from winning any prizes with what he's being fed for publishing.

Scott you hit the nail on the head. I'm a tenured employee who supports Nedelkoff and I encourage my coworkers to do the same. As I mentioned in another comment, his expertise in juvenile corrections scares both Pope & Whitmire.

Whatever agenda they have against Nedlkoff will backfire because TYC employees have seen improvements already. It seems to me that ethics, integrity and honesty are virtures Whitmire and Pope admire. Tells one a lot about how kind of people they are.

The Nedlkoff family must stand tall because they know what the MSN (Mike Ward) writes about their ex and dad is not true. Dirty politics are not in the same sentence with truth, honesty or integrity. Hold your heads up Nedlkoff's and be proud!! We sure are proud to have Mr. N as our Conservator!

Anonymous said...

Whitmire is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with Texas politics today. He has no integrity or ethics and actually believes that he is omnipotent and above the law. It is apparent that he is trying to smear Mr. Nedelkoff for recognizing that Dementia is not qualified to run the night shift at a 7-11, let alone TYC. She has done nothing positive for TYC and has lied to every legislative committee she has testified before and every true TYC staff she have ever encountered. Somebody please explain to her what stabilization actually is, so she'll know, once and for all, that she hasn't even come close. I can only imagine that were the former Mrs. Whitmire (We still don't know who the third party in Whitmire's divorce was, or is.)to blog on Grits, that her comments would be among those that would have to be deleted. I think that it is important for Mr. Nedelkoff to know that the "real" TYC supports him 100% and appreciates all he has done for us to date. It is our sincerest wish to have him finish the job he has started and bring TYC back from the chasm Dementia, Whitmire and their cronies have plunged us into.

Anonymous said...

I agree very little in the TYC "scandal" has to do with the youth involved and has been more about cronyism and the issuance of press releases to take the pressure off of some media problem or to show the new administration was doing something to clean house in order to cover the sheer incompetence of the cronies.

I am glad that Nedelkoff is standing up to this approach. He does, however, need to move faster and get some people with juvenile justice experience in place running the operation. TYC and the youth under its care are far worse off than when this "scandal" began. It is past time to "damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead."

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

Hickman, you're wrong in your classification of the TYC "scandal." There are many people who have been working hard for a long time to make things better, but they don't have enough power to override Demetria's influences, and TYC had become such a hodgepodge of shifting employees, multiple edicts and low morale that it was near impossible to move forward through the fray.

The people who work hard and are just trying to do their jobs stay quiet and deal with TYC from one day to the next. The "scandal" was and is real. The problem is that some people have piled scandal upon scandal upon scandal until the agency lost sight of the problems it should have been correcting all this time. Maybe it's not too late to start setting things right again.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with you Howard, when you place Deputies that are lacking in qualifications, a Director (good guy) who is out of his league, and Regional Directors (juvenile corections) that were appointed not based upon qualifications, yeah we have been in trouble. But, we are hoping this gets rectified and these staff are placed in positioons they are more qualified for not where they are currently at.

Anonymous said...

Grits you hit it right on the head. Thanks for getting this message out and raising the level of comments posted here. Tell your peeps to hang on and STAY TUNED.

Anonymous said...

The best way to cut this Gordian knot would be for Mr. N to pull the trigger and let D'ope go immediately, hiring a permanent replacement first thing Monday morning and leaving her personal items in a box downstairs at the security desk at Brown Heatley. Make it a fait accompli and move forward, letting Whtimire register his complaints at the confirmation hearing in 2009.

The Chairman would then have to get used to the fact that his protoge is on her way out the door, and that it's a good thing for the state, whatever his personal feelings. The five stages of grief are:

1. Denial: The initial stage: "You're doing a great job, Dimitria."
2. Anger: "Why is this new conservator bringing in people from Florida."
3. Bargaining: "We're going to hold a hearing to pressure you to do what I want."
4. Depression: "I'm so sad my friend is gone I'm going to screw TYC just out of spite." (Let's hope this stage is finished before the 2009 Lege!!!)
5. Acceptance: "Okay, this new guy knows what he's doing and the agency is running better. How can I take credit for his accomplishments?"

Anonymous said...

I think we all need to take a deep breath and blow D'Pope out d'door!

Anonymous said...

Is the ex afraid her child support is in question or has it just been cut? Why throw yourself and your children into this "fray"?

Is Mommy writing in next or the poor children who are so traumatized? Can I get paid for being a relative and writing something positive or can I just be a consultant?

And I am one of his supporters -- just appalled she would throw herself into the middle of this?

Anonymous said...

Your pretty sad, I admire her for standing up. This is what real comitment is even when one has become seperated. They must have had a strong bond at one time, and apparently it still rings true today.


Anonymous said...


You misinterpreted what I said unless those good people who have been working so long fall into the category of "cronies." By definition, I would not consider those people cronies ince I generally perceive "cronies" as people who were not put in their positions because of qualifications but rather as a result of patronage.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

I would also like to state if these "Good" people saw or percieved wrong at any time did they stand up and point out the wrong? I would have to say most did not and those that did were either sent packing, early retirement, demoted, etc.
Now those that moved up during this regime have questions to answer like "Why did the HUmpster and Pope allow your upward mobility unless you thought alike?

Anonymous said...

5:03 p.m., How can you even day something that rediculous? You sound terribily trite and bitter.

We finally get a conservator with juvenile corrections expertise who is respected. His family is just trying to acknowledge the same thing we are. The man has ethics, integrity and managerial skills. What would child support have to do with any of this? I'm sure he hasn't stopped supporting his children! Go away you're a troll!

Anonymous said...

6:11 it's funny when somebody post something you do not like you call them a troll. On the other hand what's up with Nedelkoff hair?

Anonymous said...

5:03 pm - how rude and cynical you are. I applaud this woman for having the courage to speak positively about her x. It took courage to jump into the fray. And all you can think about is child support? Don't listen to him Ms. Nedelkoff we all admire you and wish your family the best.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Nedelkoff,

Thank you for having the courage to speak out in support of Richard.

I would like to urge TYC employees and volunteers to do the same. If we all put aside our fears and arrived at the next hearing to speak out in support our numbers would be impressive. The legislatures need to See and Hear how we feel about both Dimitria and Richard.

I would even dare to say that when the room and hallway is packed with Richard's supporters, which range from staff, epiphany volunteers, volunteers across the board and parents, our presence stands a strong chance of silencing Richard's even toughest critics. Let's also keep in mind that these same people wanting desperately to speak out on Richard's behalf have also been praying for the opportunity to speak out about their feelings on Dimitria's contributions and I don't think that they have nearly the helpful and angelic image that she holds of herself.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Nedelkoff is surely a breath of fresh air for this agency! Old Salty

Anonymous said...

flush the toilet already! damn! let the sunset and start all over again. so what, a coupla more good folks go down the drain. they'll live. so far none of the other good ones that already got flushed have died. so pull the handle already. argh!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely willing to give our new conservator a chance, but I'm trying to figure out exactly what he has done that everyone is applauding. Someone even posted that we can see the change already. I don't see any change yet.

Anonymous said...

From day one, the TYC saga has been about money, power, and control. The players do not give a damn about the youth, the TYC staff, or the tax payers. Our fine elected officials are in this for themselves and their supporters. How many thousands of people have been hurt by the events that have unfolded concerning TYC. Jobs have been lost by many good people placing them and their families in difficult circumstances. The youth have no treatment program and the units are out of control. How many youth have been harmed in the last year alone? TYC has gotten much worse since it has been under the conservatorship of the governor and legislature.

I have to ask myself why, would any rational person accept the TYC conservator’s job. I would question the judgment of anyone who would take a career ending job of this nature. Then the guy quits his real job for a temporary job of conservator, what was he thinking! Add the risk to your family and this job is not a smart move. I am also wondering why Mr. N left a job he has not been in very long for this looser job. His wife remarked they had moved often over the years and I am curious why the instability in past employment. He has shown little concern for the stability of the life of his children placing a job ahead of them. Uprooting children has a very negative effect on many children and a person who works with children, should of all people, be aware of this. I would like to know more about the failed marriage and what caused the breakup to understand more about the man. I also find it interesting the ex-wife speaks of what a wonderful person her ex-husband is but obviously didn’t care to live with him and share his life. There are some things here that just do not jive for me. Call me negative if you will but the more I find out about the new conservator the more ill at ease I feel. I am not saying the guy is a bad person but he may not be up to getting this job done. Add the fact some of the politicians are gunning for him don’t help his chances of getting the job done. Time will tell how he does but I would not bet the farm on this guy!

Anonymous said...

I am concerned with the tone Nedelkoff's emails to the rank and file.
His observations that so many are doing such a fine job and blah blah blah..... is evidence enough that he hasn't taken a close look.
Nice people are dangerous.
The crew in central office are so bad that they give the word bad a new meaning. When I see some evidence that he intends to drain the swamp, I'll get on his side.

Anonymous said...

You are negative. You haven't worked with him either, as I can tell. Why would you want information about his divorce? That's pretty damn weird. Those of us who've been with the agency know we have to move around a lot in this business. Been there - done it.

His glorifying moment occurred when we found out that he's not even considering Pope as a candidate. That was enough for me to think he hung the moon.

Anonymous said...

You don't see any change because of a devil by the name of John Whitmire running interference. The plan is ready, we just need Elmer and Pope out of the picture. Then we can move forward.

Anonymous said...

Since Whitmire appears to be so concerned about conflicts of interest. Where was he at, when Pope was getting paid under a contract with TYC (March 07 to June 07. But at the same time she was on TDCJ's payroll. Yes, that's right, getting benefits from the state, while at the same being under contract with another state agency.

You all can go get the records they should be there. So, senator give us a break and stop trying to insult us. You do not care about TYC, the youth, the employees, etc. The only thing that seems to matters is your personal agenda.

Anonymous said...

So all it takes to make this man a GOD is for him to fire Pope? He talks about visiting the facilities but I haven't seen him at ours. All I see is his 5pm Friday e-mails that really don't say much. Didn't see one this past Friday though. Maybe he got it out late.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with being employed at one agency and under contract at another as long as there is no conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...


How many emails have you received from Pope or haw many times have seen her at your facility?


Why should the state pay twice for the employee? Is she is not that good to begin with!

Anonymous said...

Are you really surprised at Whitmire's actions? Look at the past speaker of the House and your "good-hair" governor! It ALL goes back to the top!

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that he also severed ties with the Humpster.

Anonymous said...

Sen. Whitmire needs to take his personal agenda home where it belongs and let the new conservator do the work he was hired to do. Also Sen. Whitmire needs to remember his famous comment "fire the felons and let the lawyers sort it out later". Well I guess that stings a little bit when it is someone that you care about involved in the "firing". Pope may not need to be fired, but neither did all of the "felons". FWIT Mike Ward was one of the reporters that didn't cover Pope's famous comment about "White Women with PhD's"

Grace Under Fire

Anonymous said...

You can't be employed at two agencies at the same time, even if it's a contract. Go read the duel employment policy in PRS.

You're a complete idiot 8:44.

Anonymous said...

8:25, there are plenty of conspiracy theories and fairy tales elsewhere on the Internet for you to occupy your time with. For instance, did you know that the lunar landing was actually filmed at a Hollywood studio?!

Meanwhile, as you chase your tail and bark a lot of nonsense, the real world will keep moving on, and people with at least an ounce of sense will try to contribute and be constructive. Nobody needs your foolishness.

Anonymous said...

8:25 p.m., Ms. Nedelkoff does not owe you an explanation about her divorce. The woman stuck her neck out defending the man and father of her kids. There are many kids who move continually, such as the armed forces, oil field, corporate people, etc, etc, and the children grow up fine. They grow up seeing some of the stuff that we read about in the history books. Moving around intself does not cause troubled children. Dysfunctional parents and households do! You should know that if you work with children! We have even had children from good homes that go haywire for a variety of reasons. So your statement does not hold water.

People go where the money is. Why is he taking the conservator's job, probably because he thinks he can make a difference for the youth and employees in TYC. I don't believe he has an evil hidden agenda. Or perhaps he's decided to stay close to his children now that they are older and in high school.

The change I spoke of was in staff morale and his stand on bringing in juvenile corrections experts to assist him in seeing what needs changing was enough to get me to support him. Getting rid of Dementia who has been there months and made no changes but, plenty of headlines, is a fringe benefit and change that we all need and the youth deserve.

I don't think that Whitmire and Pope have been exactly open books regarding their pasts.

You are negative and looking for dirt and the rest of us are embracing a well deserved change because he is a juvenile corrections expert. Yes, he will make mistakes but certainly not the kind Pope has made! He was honest from the beginning and he values his employees.

No, he is not on a pedestal and we don't expect perfection. What we do expect is integrity, honesty, ethics and communication to the field. At least he is willing to accept help and advice from other juvenile corrections experts and doesn't consider himself the only stabilizing factor/force in the TYC.

Unlike Pope who promised transparency and never came through, this man communicated with the field almost immediately and reached out for our help! I'm 100% behind him and look forward to TYC being a respected agency when its all said and done!

Anonymous said...

To around 8:25

We know you are Mickey Neal. Nice job in the first paragraph trying to disguise yourself. Indeed, nice job presenting yourself as a rational person throughout your post. But you are done and finished with this agency and with juvenile justice any place in the nation. Just go back to the adult system and leave us alone please,

Anonymous said...

Mickey, if it's really you, why don't you share the feelings on this blog with your beloved Pope so she's not an Emperess with no clothes thinking she's the stabilizing factor in TYC.

Anonymous said...

I think the people working at TYC are so desperate for a savior they will grab for anything that remotely looks like a real leader! Based on what you have had in the past at TYC I can see why it doesn’t take much to think someone is better than what you have had. I believe a man’s family comes ahead of his job. Yes there are other jobs that drag families around and their children suffer for it also. If this guy is so concerned about children why didn’t he provide a stable environment for his own children? Who knows it might have saved his marriage improving his children’s life even more. I just have a hard time believing this new guy cares so much for children based on his own life. I think it all boils down to priorities. I just cannot trust a man who places a job ahead of his family. He should have never taken a job where his ex-wife had to beg people not to harm her children. I don’t think he was thinking of his children when he took the job so why should I think he really cares about anyone but himself? There is something about this guy that is not right. On a more positive note the new guy cannot be as bad as the people who came before him. I think it will be interesting to see how the TYC employees feel about him after two or three units are closed if he lasts that long.

I do agree the TYC staff should try to support the guy because he could very well be your last, best hope. Just don’t get so invested in the guy that you are completely broken if it turns out he cannot pull TYC out of the crapper. Keep your options open and look for other forms of employment to fall back on if needed. Take stock of the effect the TYC story is having on your family and ask yourself is it worth it and is it fair to my family? Do not be surprised if TYC is down sized by 50% or more over the next few months with 600 to 700 TYC employees laid off. The federal law suit is going to force some drastic action to be taken at TYC. It has been the legislature’s plan to cut TYC heavily since the last session. Grits had the following in a prior post “Isaac said (publicly for the first time, as far as I know) that this biennial budget imposed funding reductions based on an assumption of a whopping 1,496 decrease in institutional beds and 1,241 FTE reduction - i.e., firing 1,241 workers. Many are already gone, but that still means more staff reductions are planned.” 1241-500 staff short=741 jobs expected to be cut at TYC.

Don’t use too many of those 9 thinking errors and you may see what is coming before it gets here. I wish the best for everyone at TYC. Oh by the way, I am not Mickey Neal whoever he is.

Anonymous said...

To the last poster:

Maybe I was a little too intense about the kids. I originally wrote that email to Mike Ward, a columnist, and I was trying to emphasize the fact that my teenagers are reading the newspaper and to make sure he doesn't spew lies.

I resent the fact you are judging my families decisions and questiioning our parenting. Our kids are great and really how many people in the United Staes have divorced, Maybe Richard took the job to be closer to his children instead of having to travel so much to florida. Bottom line - I was just trying to verbalize Richard's committment to the staff and to his job. I won't be writing any more. This is something I chose to do on my own and I don't want to be attacked and I don't want to make things worse for Mr. Nedelkoff.

But thank all you posters so much for your support. It means a lot to my family. I hope you follow up and are at the hearing on February 22nd in support of Richard. I know he can turn TYC around given the chance.

thanks again,

Kristen Nedelkoff
adoption caseworker

Anonymous said...

Kristen Nedelkoff your husband is now a politically appointed state official and open to criticism so get used to it. I find it interesting you say he moved to Florida to be near the children but he just quite that job and now is in Texas. His dedication to the children didn’t last long! The more you say the more I am convinced Mr. Nedelkoff is not all that many hope he is. Your ex-husband made a decision to move away from his children to take the TYC conservator’s job so which do you really believe comes first for him? Are you as their mother, going to tell me you think the kids in TYC are more important than your own children thus requiring your husband to move away to save the TYC children. Lady you are so full of it! If you don’t think your children should come first then you are screwed up!

As I said before my problem with your husband is centered around priorities and I firmly believe his are misplaced. Come to think of it, I have another problem with your husband; he was appointed by Rick Perry and has ties to George Bush. I never trust the motives of a Perry appointee to be honorable. Your ex-husband chooses his friends poorly. More bad judgment on his part.

Time will tell who is right and who is wrong Ms. Nedelkoff. For the sake of a lot of good people who work at TYC and 3000 children in TYC I hope Mr. Nedelkoff is everything you tell us he is. Your ex-hubby has jumped into a major political game so you need get a little thicker skin or this is going to rip you up. Your husband is head to head with some very powerful and well connected people that should make you afraid. They will destroy lives for sport but when it comes to power and money there are no holds barred. His only hope is to see the contracts go to the right people.

Anonymous said...

Too often, discussions of TYC, not only here but in general, have been degraded by useless personal attacks. I fear that Ms. Nedelkoff, however well intentioned, is inviting more of the same. I'd advise her not to disclose much more about their personal life unless she wants it to become fodder for gossipy speculation.

It is at best annoying to see aspersions cast on the conservator that are way out of proportion to his actions, coming from people who are living in very fragile glass houses. These are the same people who presided over Ed Owens, Dimitria Pope, Billy Humphrey, pepper spray, $15,000 carpets, facility shutdowns, lawsuits, the dumping of the Blue Ribbon panel, the bungling of the staff overtime pay, release of violent offenders, abuse of nonviolent offenders, etc etc.

Where was their outrage then?

Nedelkoff hasn't had much of a chance to do anything yet. His greatest sin seems to be, really, that he actually has expertise and experience in juvenile justice.

Apparently some people are far more comfortable with petty, corrupt, unqualified refugees from the adult system who are easier to control.

Bill B.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Nedelkoff took a huge pay cut and left a stable job in order to stick it out with TYC because we are in such a desperate need. That's commitment to the youth and the staff. He has integrity! which has been lacking at the top for far too long. Good for Ms. Nedelkoff and good for him. Most people wouldn't be willing to go "all in" for TYC. Give the guy a chance. He's giving us a big a chance.

Anonymous said...

The only "transparency" under Pope's tenure is the obviousness of Whitmire's favoritism of his crony.

Where were Whitmire's "serious concerns" when Kimbrough,Owens, and Pope awarded contracts outside of the competitive bidding process? And where was Whitmire's concern when Perry, Kimbrough, Owens, and Pope appointed their own cronies to top jobs at TYC without posting a job announcement?

And regarding that salary: Whitmire is only complaining about it because he knows it won't benefit Pope! I bet he'd shut his mouth about the issue if she were the one getting it.

Whitmire, show a little bit of class already. Stop being a hypocrite and quit bullying people.

And fellow co-workers, we need to somehow show our support for Mr. Nedelkoff. I have already sent him an email offering my support, however modest it may be. If all we ever do is post comments to Grits, the Popes and Whitmires will just stop reading Grits! Somehow, we need to make our support more visible than that.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the same person is attacking Ms Nedelkoff and her ex, over and over. From reading that person's posts, it appears that he/she has some very serious personal issues.

Ms Nedelkoff, there are a tremendous number of us who are juvenile justice professionals, who appreciate having "one of our own" so, to speak at the helm. I repeat, your ex is a breath of fresh air for this agency.

Anonymous said...

Whitmire and Ward need new jobs.

Maybe Whitmire could be Ray Brookins bodyguard in whatever TDCJ unit he goes to. I'm sure Hernandez would appreciate Ward's services, too.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kristen,

My ex husband works at TYC and has been attacked in the press and on grits by anonymous posters as well. I posted 1 email in answer to a rediculously childish rant. I did not receive the negativity that you have, and please know, 99% of the people who read this applaud you and support your ex.

It is refreshing knowing you and Richard are friends, parent together and support one another. That type of committment is also evident in his committment to TYC, as is my ex's.

Unfortunately, there are a few with a personal agenda, and they muddy the waters. I apologize for the rants of that one person - she needs her lithium.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me Whitmire is the one who has a conflict of interest. He should be replaced before the next joint meeting on the 22nd.

Kudos, Ms. Nedelkoff, you have my admiration.

NONE of this flack helps the staff and especially our children at TYC.Our children are the forgotten ones in all of this.
A TYC Parent

Anonymous said...

From reading the previous posts Mr. Nedelkoff:

1. Took a big cut in pay to come to TYC

2. Moved away from his children

3. Quit his steady job for a lower paying temporary job

4. After a couple of months has still not fired Pope (is he really running TYC)

5. Has his ex begging for people to cut him slack for the children’s sake (what’s next)

6. Is here to save all the poor folks at TYC out of the goodness of his heart

If you believe someone would do all of the above to come to Texas and to save your ass at TYC I have some ocean front property I want to show you at low tide. I think I will hold off judgment till I see something of substance from Mr. Nedelkoff. So far the only positive thing he has done is encourage Bronco Billy to move on and send out a few fuzzy feeling emails. Like one of the previous posters said – time will tell how good the current conservator really is. I agree with Bill B, the wife needs to keep out of the mix.

Anonymous said...

Bill B,

I won't blog anymore. I agree with you. I hope everything works out for TYC. I just want to encourage everyone to watch this video and not to by too cynical and to remember not to give up on our youth. And I hope you all vote in the Texas Primary.


kristen Nedelkoff

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@8 a.m., assuming your the same poster as 5:03 earlier - you're a moron. The 5:03 was written by a mean-spirited jackass, and probably someone whose job is dependent on Dimitria Pope keeping her position.

I'll only respond further by saying that Nedelkoff's family lives in Austin! He moved back here in part for the chance to be closer to his kids. Perhaps learning that, for just a moment, you'll feel as stupid as you really are.

I wish the 5:03 poster had the courage to put their name on such drivel so we could all judge their personal life choices and piss on their family in public forums.

Nedelkoff's ex-wife knows him and how he treats his family better than any of you, and she's the one standing up for him, quite honorably, IMO, considering they're estranged. Stop that insulting crap. Be more respectful or I'll just start deleting wholesale on this string - it's dead wrong, cowardly and rank to make that attack.

Since our friend the troll apparently has no shame, let me say I'm ashamed on their behalf, and on behalf of this blog. Kristen I'm sorry you were subjected to this crap. You didn't do anything wrong - some people just can't help showing their stripes.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone confirmed that the person blogging is the ex-Mrs.? I have read other posts on blogs where someone has used a person's name to stir the pot or to be funny (in their opinion).

I ask this question because "she" has used different "signature blocks" and I admit I am a suspicious person.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Degrading personal attacks often without foundation have been a favorite form of obfiscating the truth by several past TYC administrative personel and many of their cronies. Unfortunately, it has become almost acceptable practice and TYC has suffered for it.

I have often wondered who over the years was resocialing who based on the way many staff and administrators acted.

Anonymous said...

Breaking News

Texas Youth Commission Acting Executive Director Dimitria Pope will either resign or be terminated by the end of the day, high ranking state officials said Monday. More details to come.

Dallas Morning News

Anonymous said...

As an employee of TYC, I have to say that Mr. Nedelkoff is the best thing to happen to TYC. He does not make slap happy decisions and isn't looking to better his own name. The legislatures are angry because Mr. Nedelkoff is knowledgeable and has taken a firm stance against the negative in TYC, aka the people they put in place. I have always said the legislature had a motive which was to have TYC placed under TDCJ during the Sunset Review however Mr. Nedelkoff has other plans, he knows you cannot treat juveniles like Adult Criminals, it isn't therapeutic.

Anonymous said... is past 5:00. What happened with DaPope??????

Anonymous said...

Here's a short statement for all you negatgive people commenting to this blog string:

Misery loves company, and MOST of us aren't going down with you.


Anonymous said...

Misery loves company, Most of us are not going down with you, Bug off???
Could you possibly be a Pope apppointee and have feelings of despair?
Speaking of appointee's I am sure all of them must feel bad right now, lets count the Superintendents who were apointed
(5), Regional Juvenile Corrections (3), and the list can on and on.

Anonymous said...

Grits it sounds like you lost control of your blog. Now you and Pope are both unemployed and I well sign my name or not ether way you clowns jump all over it.


Anonymous said...

Pope is gone! She resigned.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody please tell Nedelkoff that we don't need all these regional positions! They are a waste of money and completely cuts the field off from central office. Regional Purchaser?...come on.

Anonymous said...

11:47 p.m. you are one sick person. Do us all a favor and don't comment anymore.

Anonymous said...

After all the to-do about wanting Da Pope out of TYC, I am in shock at how very little--practically nothing has been said here tonight. People, she is gone! It has hit the Dallas, Houston, and Austin news! Shouldn't there be dancing in the streets or something? Or, is it that this blog has just become a griping session and not a real forum for change? Where is the celebration?

Anonymous said...

9:00 - You need to go to today's post of "DMN reports TYC Pope is Out"

Anonymous said...

Hey "Mrs.Former Nedelkoff"
Instead of wasting your time "defending" your ex....why don't you tell him to take a good look at the people POPE had terminated, and try and repair the lives of people that were wrongfully terminated?

We can all come on here and complain...lets actually try and turn this into a positive thing.

He doesn't need a cheer-leader. He needs somebody to help him clean up the mess that Pope left him.

BTW....he is off to a GREAT start by removing that woman!!!
Tell him, us "little people" appreciate him already!

Pope casuality

Anonymous said...

You ought be fired for simply being unable to spell Casualty.

Anonymous said...

nice to know that some people have absolutely nothing important to they "spell-check"

Get a life! This person had something to say.....Do YOU?

Anonymous said...

Why, yes I do. You are an idiot. Enough said.