Employees Claim Favoritism in Dept. of Corrections

Employees Claim Favoritism in Dept. of Corrections

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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingA new legislative audit raises serious concerns about equitable treatment and effective management within the Department of Corrections. Legislators were very concerned about the findings in this report. It implies that managers and supervisors are getting special treatment compared with many other Corrections employees.

Greg Curtis: "There seems to be a culture that is breeding some serious discontent."

According to a legislative audit released today, 76% of employees at the Department of Corrections feel favoritism exists on the job and many have filed complaints.

From 2004-2006, employee grievances comprised more than 35-percent of all state agency filings.

Greg Curtis, House Speaker: "Any time you have three-fourths of the employees saying, we perceive there is favoritism going on in our department and people aren't being treated fairly, that's disturbing."

The audit documented 10 cases of favoritism. In one instance, a supervisor in the prison was stopped for a DUI, was accused of unlawful harassment and tested positive for using meth.

Kade Minchey, Legislative Auditor Supervisor: "Management did not immediately terminate the employee."

In fact, the person was put on seven months of paid administrative leave and then retired with benefits. Corrections says the response was justified.

Scott Carver, Exe. Director, Dept. of Corrections: "That was a person who gave 19 and a half very good years to the department."

In another case, a Corrections supervisor in the internal affairs department lied to a Highway Patrol trooper when he was pulled over for speeding on his way to a shooting range. He said he was on his way to a stabbing at the prison.

Kade Minchey: "The supervisor violated department policy, yet received no discipline."

The Department of Corrections says it does not operate on favoritism and says employees are just perceiving it that way.

Scott Carver: "The perception is based on lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding of the processes."

The audit also showed 6-percent of Corrections officers have not gone through the amount of training required by the state, and the department is not keeping good records on who uses state vehicles for personal use.

The Executive Director admitted to shortcomings in these areas and says they are working on improvement.

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