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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 with 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.

Leave a comment Comments → 30
  1. PumainTacoma says:

    Sorry to hear about your wife. Sad.

    We totally agree that the DOC needs to own up to its actions and inactions and we commend Sen. Carrell for champion for the taxpayers of this state.

  2. How about just placing the blame on the individuals involved? Is that too much to ask?

  3. tree_guy says:

    Stephen, I remember what happened to your wife. Sounds like you’re using your insight to help the state make some improvements. Good for you!

  4. itwasntmethistime says:

    I remember when Paula Joyce was killed, and I was thinking it was a horrible tragedy, but how could the state be at fault? The state is you and me. “The state” can only do what we give them the funds to do, and tracking every bad guy every moment of the day is out of the scope of what we are willing to pay for.

    Now, after all these years, maybe I’m thinking the state could have done more. If DOC workers have time for extracurriculars, surely they have time to do their jobs.

  5. The DOC smokers who waste 1/3 of their day in Puyallup….

  6. blakeshouse says:

    There again, behind it all we find a public employees union with the power and clout to make this a non issue. Unfortunately for Steven and the rest of the family, the tragedy they had to deal with gets swept aside by union rights and privileges. Until the politicos in this state muster up the cojones to put a stop to the madness that has become public sector employment it will do nothing but continue to get worse. It is almost as bad as taking a failed and costly atty general and throwing them out of office by giving them the gov chair.

  7. truthbusterguy says:

    These examples of abuse will never change until we either decertify the union or privatize. I vote for privatization.

  8. I’m sorry for your loss Stephen. Great letter. I hope it will get the attention of the State Legislature and get them to finally take a hard look at the public sector union abuses.

  9. Uh…what’s all the union talk, boys and girls? The offender was executive management.

    As usual, attack the workers. Sadly this man lost his wife – a member of said union – but that makes no difference to the attackers.

    The situation that set up Paula was a management decision, not a union one.

    Nothing like throwing a little gasoline on this poor man’s flames of hurt.

  10. harleyrider1 says:

    Agreed. When I read that the “Director” had been reprimanded in her last two jobs for this – but then hired by the DOC, I thought unbelieveable!

    Then she does it again, and no one – not even the Guv from Whoville, makes a comment.

    The graphics designer that worked on it for one year for this “Director” and no other DOC work made me think, there is s position that can be cut to save money.
    Return her budgeted salary to education for our kids.

    Even though the “Director” in this is case is a black lady, I think the fact that she has priors allows the state to terminate her. Take that salary and return it to education for our children.

    As for the policy that this is allowed on state (taxpayer) time? End this policy now. Do the job you were hired for and if there is not enough work to keep you buys, consolidate that job with another and save us $$.

  11. Unfortunately I had a family member involved in a crime and was sentenced to one year probation. I was shocked at the unprofessional and demeaning way she was treated by the male doc officiers. It go to the point where I had to help her demand a female doc officer because she felt unsafe around the male doc officiers. My brief experience with DOC left me horrified and disturbed. I stil think about all the young women and men who are potential victims of a Doc officer.

  12. itwasntmethistime says:

    sue — If your family member was sentenced to a year of probation she “committed” a crime. It’s nice of you to sugar-coat it for your loved ones, but it really doesn’t help the rest of us fight crime when friends and family downplay criminal activity.

  13. SadujTogracse says:

    This is a common problem. I know of one individual who was fired from a non-profit organization because he was constantly submitting comments on various internet sites while at work. However this case is worse because it is our tax dollars going to waste.

  14. The broader point is that management would do a much better job if it were not for the intimidation aspect that they cope with from the public sector unions and political correctness.

  15. This has nothing to do with unions no matter how much you try to make excuses for your crass behavior.

    “One group led by Stewart, the Association of Women in Criminal Justice, probably has “dozens” of members in the Corrections Department, Vail said.

    The two-year-old group says it awards scholarships to criminal justice students. It created a scholarship in honor of slain Lakewood police officer Tina Griswold after getting permission from her family to use Griswold’s name, and held events like a 5K run to raise money. But the family withdrew its permission and created its own scholarship fund under Griswold’s name, Stewart wrote on the website in February.

    “There has been a lot of information disseminated about the integrity of the association that is simply not true,” wrote Stewart, who didn’t return a phone message at her office Thursday afternoon. “… I would ask you to make judgments of this organization based on what you know personally, not on what other people tell you.”

    Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/06/17/1709485/doc-investigates-ethics-complaint.html#ixzz1PwAFLQ3u

    This is the reason why non-profits should be registered and monitored by the Secretary of State’s office, which is presently being downsized. One would think that the duplication of a state facility address would be enough to tip off our government officials. Less workers to monitor will open the door to more scams. Note the use of a fallen officer’s name for emotional ploy.

    Again….this is NOT a union employee and probably those that she enlisted to help were union employees fearing reprisal for not assisting in this “endeavor”.

    This is NOT the first time that someone has inappropriately represented themselves in a non-profit fashion.

  16. http://www.nawcj.net/

    Go to the website and look at the contact information and see how many red flags you find.

  17. Anonymous rumors on the internet are not nearly as potent as proof.

  18. unions are the primary source of problems in any government operation.

  19. Unions have nothing to do with this issue.

    It’s OK to be wrong, frosty

  20. “SadujTogracse says:
    June 21, 2011 at 10:11 am
    This is a common problem. I know of one individual who was fired from a non-profit organization because he was constantly submitting comments on various internet sites while at work.”

    Maybe you’d like to disclose the identity of this individual, since you claim it’s the truth…..

  21. SadujTogracse says:

    Kardnos, how do you say it… “Thou dost protest too much”???b


  22. I dost protest none.

    I dost challenge you to put your money and your moniker where your lies are. I say you are making “this individual” up.

    Come on, all you’ve got to lose is your money and your moniker.

  23. What was the lion in the Wizard of Oz?

  24. SadujTogracse says:

    Why should I publicly expose someone just to suit your twisted request? That person knows who they are. They made a mistake and paid the consequences, lesson learned. I only brought it up because it related to the story and to point out it is not an uncommon problem.

  25. SadujTogracse says:
    June 22, 2011 at 9:03 am
    Why should I publicly expose someone just to suit your twisted request?

    Roughly translated – “I made it up”

  26. Now, as to the subject matter, from reports in the media that use real people and real names, it seems that the honored’s family was reluctant to participate in this “non-profit”.

    Unfortunately, many “non-profits” are not as honorable as they might seem. the Better Business Bureau as a great website – http://www.give.org – where people can verify the validity of a “charity”. Thus, when someone posts a “donation for the troops” paypal bug on their website, you can determine how valid it might be.

    “The Troops” is a great way to scam money from naive people.

    When in doubt, check give.org or the Secretary of State’s office, who will gladly investigate bogus charities.

  27. SadujTogracse says:

    LOL, yeah I made up a fictitious person and story just so I could have something to post about in here (eyeroll). More nonsense from Kardnos.

    Although in the name of cooperation I will endorse Kardnos’ 12:36 post. It doesn’t happen often so take note!

  28. Saduj…..as a matter of fact you DID make it up. You know it. I know it and your dodge routine demonstrates to all the readers that you know it.

    Again, I’m not sure why you play coy if you have proof of the issue that you brought up.

    It’s of the same vein of someone saying that they know of a person who was terminated from their job for sexual harassment and stalking…….

  29. SadujTogracse says:

    I made nothing up. You seem obsessed with this person, why is that?

  30. Horseinaround says:

    It makes one wonder since Ms. Stewart is black, DOC admin is afraid to punish her “for real,” because of the ole racism cry.

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