Message to Staff: Jan. 16, 2020
Hello Corrections team, and Happy New Year!
This is a great year to be part of the Department of Corrections and to work for the citizens of Missouri. In his State of the State address yesterday, Governor Mike Parson made some exciting announcements about his vision for 2020. He also submitted a recommendation for another pay increase for our staff. This is great news!
But first, let’s rewind to last January.
In his 2019 State of the State Address, Governor Mike Parson announced a plan to consolidate the state’s two Cameron prisons and invest the savings in MODOC pay raises. By the end of summer, the consolidation of Crossroads Correctional Center with Western Missouri Correctional Center was complete, and the pay plan had been signed into law as part of the state’s budget bill. Developed by the department, championed by Governor Parson and approved by the Missouri General Assembly, the pay plan included a 3 percent salary increase for all state workers, plus an additional and ongoing 1 percent increase for every two years of service, up to 20 years, for MODOC staff. This plan provided the largest pay increase in the department’s history without employee layoffs or additional offender releases. Pay increases went into effect January 1, 2020.
Now, for the new pay increases. Governor Parson has recommended several raises for corrections staff! Those increases include an additional 2% for all state employees; an increase in the stipend paid to CERT members; and increases for a few specific jobs based on a state-wide market study. The governor also recommended investing $5.1 million across all State agencies in “Above and Beyond” incentives to motivate high performance, promote continuous improvement and improve accountability. This is one of the initiatives that Director Precythe and Division Director Julie Kempker have been talking about in recent town halls.
All of these increases must be approved by the Missouri General Assembly during this legislative session before they can go into effect. My team and I will work hard to support this pay plan and get it across the finish line, just as we did last year.
On-going Pay Increases
Since I became your director, pay increases have been — and continue to be — a top priority. Here is a summary of the progress so far:
- In July 2018, custody staff received a $350 annual pay increase.
- In January 2019, all state employees received a $700 annual pay increase.
- In January 2020, MODOC received the largest pay increase in the department’s history: 3% plus an additional 1% for every 2 years of service, up to 20 years. The pay plan provides pay increases of 3% to 13.3%!
- A proposed additional 2% increase — to be determined during the 2020 legislative session.
- A proposed $75 monthly increase in the CERT stipend — to be determined during the 2020 legislative session.
- Funding to participate in the State’s market minimum salary adjustments — to be determined during the 2020 legislative session.
- $1 million in “Above and Beyond” incentives for DOC – to be determined during the 2020 legislative session.
Infrastructure and Safety Proposals
Pay increases are only part of today’s news. Governor Parson has also recommended a plan developed by the department to improve infrastructure and safety.
This plan includes closing down some of the department’s most challenging housing to address security and infrastructure concerns. Made possible by criminal code changes that have reduced the statewide prison population, the changes would not only make our work environments safer and improve staffing levels but also save money, which we plan to reinvest in infrastructure and equipment improvements department-wide.
No prison closures, facility consolidations or layoffs are included in this plan.
The plan includes closing some housing units at Algoa, Boonville, Tipton, Farmington, Northeast Correctional Center and Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center. This change will allow the department to take 1,756 offender beds offline and will eliminate the need to fill 131 currently vacant full-time positions. Closing housing units reduces staffing needs and enables the department to more effectively and efficiently staff facilities, boost safety and reduce mandatory overtime. Again, no layoffs are included in this plan. All eliminated positions are existing vacancies.
Implementation of this plan will result in approximately $6.5 million in savings and $6.6 million in cost avoidance in pending maintenance and repair projects. The savings will be reinvested in vital improvements.
The proposed reinvestments include:
- $1.5 million for preventative maintenance on major operating systems at all facilities – this improves safety.
- $3 million to expand the number of radios at all facilities and to implement a regular replacement cycle for all radios and institutional security cameras – this improves safety.
- $2 million increase in institutional repair/maintenance funding – this improves safety.
- $1 million to expand the Probation and Parole field staff vehicle fleet – this gives our officers the tools they need.
If approved, these upgrades will make our worksites safer, support field staff and ensure more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
As anyone who has owned a car or a house knows, investing in proper maintenance now, helps to prevent major repair and replacement costs later. But this plan goes beyond fiscal responsibility and good use of resources. Improving the conditions in our facilities and equipment makes our staff safer and more secure as we work to accomplish our mission of improving lives for safer communities.
I am so excited about the big plans in store for 2020! For more details on what we’re working on, please watch this new video detailing our strategic plan.
I am absolutely honored to be the director of this department. I will continue to fight for raises and resources for our team. I appreciate you and the work you do.
Anne L. Precythe