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In May, the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) and the Governor's Office of Budget, Planning and Policy (GOBPP) published instructions governing preparation and submission of Legislative Appropriations Requests (LAR) for the 2014-15 biennium. This begins the budgeting process which will eventually determine how much funding the upcoming 83rd Legislature will appropriate to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and other state agencies. LARs reflect an agency's strategic plan and provide a fiscal expression of the agency's priorities, including performance and cost projections.
For the 2014-15 biennium, most agencies' LARs may not include a "baseline" request that exceeds the sum expended in fiscal year (FY) 2012 and budgeted in FY 2013. One notable exception of interest to state employees is the Employees Retirement System, which may request additional funds needed for the state's contributions to pension systems and group benefit programs. Requests for amounts in excess of the funds expended in FY 2012 and budgeted in FY 2013 may be submitted as "exceptional items."
Agencies must also submit a supplemental schedule detailing how they would reduce their funding request by an additional 10 percent, in 5 percent increments. Chief Financial Officer Jerry McGinty urged employees to remain calm despite the request for state agencies to demonstrate the impact of budget reductions totaling up to 10 percent, describing it as a prudent budget exercise.
"In the context of developing any budget, it's common for decision-makers to want information regarding the impact of possible spending reductions," said McGinty. "In fact, that is usually the case when the Legislature considers the state budget, just as it is for most agencies, businesses and households. It's far too premature to make any assumptions about funding for the next biennium."
Agency employees should remember that the LAR is only the first step in a lengthy appropriations process and any decisions impacting agency appropriations and operations will be carefully considered by both the governor and Legislature before such measures are adopted. TDCJ's appropriations request for 2014-15 will be considered and voted upon during the Texas Board of Criminal Justice's meeting on August 23, and the agency's LAR will be submitted to the LBB and GOBPP by August 30. Other important dates in the upcoming budgeting process include:
August and September 2012: agencies submit biennial 2014-15 LAR; LBB and GOBPP hold joint budget hearings
October through December 2012: LBB and GOBPP develop budget recommendations
January 2013: LBB budget recommendations and governor's budget proposals delivered to the 83rd Legislature
January through May 2013: 83rd Legislature considers and adopts the General Appropriations Bill
June 2013: Comptroller certifies the General Appropriations Bill; governor acts on the General Appropriations Bill by approving or disapproving of the entire bill or sections contained in the bill
The Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) held its 22nd Skills for Effective Intervention Conference
July 23-26 in Austin. The conference brought together about 300 community supervision officers and other criminal justice professionals from throughout the state, and offered four days of intensive workshops on a variety of community supervision and criminal justice topics, including evidence-based practices, domestic violence, gang awareness and substance abuse treatment. Nationally-recognized speakers included Dr. Christopher Lowenkamp with the Office of U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services, and Brian Lovins, Associate Director of the Corrections Institute for the University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice.
CJAD staff member Jessica Trevino discusses TDCJ oversight procedures with community supervision and corrections departments' employees.
Photo by Jene Andersen
Brian Lovins, Associate Director of the Corrections Institute for the University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice, discusses how offenders' risks and needs are measured and how to put the assessment results into practice.
Photo by Jene Andersen
The five-week third quarter of the 2012 Chairman's Olympic Challenge is complete and participating employees have collectively accumulated 5,881,920 points, more than 3.5 times the points earned last quarter. Congratulations to the top teams in each division and thanks to all challenge participants for their support.
19 or fewer employees
|Internal Audit Division||Texas Board of Criminal Justice/Austin Executive Administration||Correctional Institutions Division - Laundry, Food and Supply|
20 to 39 employees
|Office of the General Counsel||Houston V Parole Office||Correctional Institutions Division - Support Operations|
40 to 99 employees
|Houston VII Parole Office||Health Services Division||Board of Pardons and Paroles - Hearing Operations|
|Division 4: 100 to 199 employees||Tulia Transfer Facility||Thomas R. Havins Unit||Facilities Division|
|Division 5: 200 to 299 employees||Buster Cole State Jail||Parole Division Region I||Reynoldo V. Lopez State Jail/Manuel A. Segovia Unit|
|Division 6: 300 or more employees||Manufacturing and Logistics Division||Mark W. Stiles Unit||Pam Lychner State Jail/Joe Kegans State Jail complex|
The fourth-quarter challenge, Summer Olympic Games, began July 9 and ran through August 12, 2012.
Since 1993, employees of state agencies, junior and community colleges, and universities throughout Texas have donated to their favorite charities through the statutorily-authorized State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC). The SECC marked its 18th year of service in 2011 by raising more than $9.3 million, including $962,000 in donations from TDCJ employees, for charity organizations.
To receive donations, charities must be nonprofit organizations registered with the Office of the Secretary of State, audited annually by an accountant, provide direct or indirect health and human services, and spend no more than 25 percent of funds raised on administration and fundraising unless qualified for an exception due to special circumstances.
The SECC fundraising campaign runs annually from September 1 through October 31. During this period, employees can visit the SECC website to learn which charities are represented in their particular campaign area. Scheduled TDCJ SECC fundraising events and instructions on how to submit an event for posting on the TDCJ SECC fundraising calendar may be found on the agency website under Employee Resources.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is warning agency staff to be aware of a phone scam whose targets have included TDCJ offices, inundating them with calls from an unknown source.
The caller is male, speaks with a foreign accent and represents himself as either an attorney or collection agency representative. He indicates that the staff member has an overdue debt and requests the staff member to pay the debt immediately or face legal action. In some cases, when staff refused the demand, the caller cursed them or became belligerent and continued to make calls to the staff members to the point of harassment. In extreme instances the calls come not only to the staff members' work number, but to their home and cell phone numbers as well.
These calls usually originate from an area code within the United States, however, caller identification technology may be circumvented and does not necessarily indicate the actual phone from which the calls are being made.
Do not fall victim to this ploy. If you receive a one of these calls: