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State employees again granted salary hikes, hazardous duty pay raised

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State employees were again granted back-to-back pay raises during the recent legislative session that also produced an increase in hazardous duty pay for full-time TDCJ uniformed security staff.

Legislators approved pay raises for all state employees in Salary Schedules A & B for both years of the 2008-09 biennium of two percent, or a minimum of $50 a month. Employees falling under the pay schedule that includes certified law enforcement officers received raises of up to 10 percent for FY08, with no increases in FY09. These raises take effect on September 1st of each year.

Hazardous duty pay for full-time correctional officers and other uniformed security staff was increased from $10 a month for each year of qualifying service to $12 a month, up to maximum of $300. With the increase, a correctional officer with 10 years of service will now earn an additional $240 a year.

In addition, legislation extended the parole officer career ladder to include pay levels for Parole Officer I-V positions based on months of service at each level.

The two percent across-the-board pay increases authorized by the Legislature for each of the next two years marks four consecutive years of salary hikes for state employees. It is the first time since the mid-1980s that state workers have received pay raises during four consecutive years.

TDCJ Human Resources Division Director Carol Johnston said state employees and retirees can also look forward to another two years without any significant increases in health care costs. She said the Employee Retirement System is maintaining current HealthSelect premium rates for FY 2008, which begins on September 1, and that there are no changes expected in any co-payments, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs. Monthly premiums for HMO coverage, however, could increase slightly.

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Employees at Neal, Wynne units recognized with volunteer awards

Tracy Bailey and Vernell Houska posing with awards in hand in front of TDCJ seal
Tracy Bailey, left, and Vernell Houska were recognized as “everyday heroes” in May.

Photo by Jene Robbins

TDCJ employees Vernell Houska and Tracy Bailey were recognized as “everyday heroes” in May during the 12th Annual Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards presentation in Austin.

Houska, who works in the Offender Records Office at the Neal Unit in Amarillo, was presented with the TDCJ Employee Volunteer Award, while Bailey, building major at the Wynne Unit in Huntsville, was recognized with the Criminal Justice Administrator Award. Nineteen awards were presented in all.

Houska joined TDCJ in 1996 and immediately became an employee volunteer. She has been active in the worship services conducted for offenders and is a member of the Karios Prison Ministry. She is also active with the Karios “Outside” Program, which provides emotional support to women whose lives have been affected by the incarceration of a loved one.

Bailey was recognized for maintaining a safe and secure facility while simultaneously giving offenders the ability to participate in various programs and activities available on the Wynne Unit. Recently, Bailey was instrumental in bringing a talent show to the unit, which was named IMPACT (Influencing Mature Positive Attitude Changes Together). The show gave offenders the opportunity to work together on a project that showcased their talents. More than 600 offenders and staff took part in the show.

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New e-mail address for Human Resources Staff Development

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Human Resources Staff Development offers a wide array of high-level classes for TDCJ employees and has made it easier to request specific training for your unit or department.

A brief description of all available HRSD program area classes can be found in the Training Course Catalog through the Human Resources website (www.tdcj.state.tx.us/vacancy/hr-home/staff-dev.htm) or through InfoPac (“HRTRAIN”). You may also contact their office to request a Course Catalog.

The quickest and easiest way to request training or to find out more information about a class is to email Human Resources Staff Development at hrsdtraining@tdcj.state.tx.us. A training specialist will respond with the information.

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