Letters to the Editor

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DOC: Employees have time to waste on non-job projects?

Letter by Stephen Joyce, Tacoma on June 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm | 30 Comments »
June 20, 2011 2:28 pm

Re: “DOC investigates ethics complaint” (TNT, 6-17).

This article really struck a nerve with me. It highlighted complaints that Department of Corrections personnel were allegedly using state computers, vehicles and employee time for non-DOC work.

When my wife Paula Joyce was killed by a felon under supervision, DOC employees repeatedly spoke at the trial of being asked to do too much with too few resources. Lack of adequate supervision was consistently blamed on having too many felons to supervise and not enough time.

Now we find the latest escapade of taxpayer dollars used to fund employees who then devote part of their workday to causes unrelated to DOC work. Although many of us support worthy causes, from the Relay for Life to the Girl Scouts, we work on these on our own time, not on taxpayer time.

Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail needs to have his feet held to the fire on this case. Can he muster a defense of DOC employees who have enough time to devote to extracurricular projects during work hours, while at the same time arguing to the Legislature against budget cuts in the department he oversees?

While it is possible that corrections field officers are overburdened, this sounds like just another instance of a bloated, top-heavy agency with too little to do. And our safety is once again put at risk.

I implore state Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, to seek the truth in this latest instance of malfeasance of public funds. And shame on Vail for his attempts to downplay this.

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