What DC Employees Have Done
This year was the culmination of the Florida DC's five year plan objective to obtain additional benefits for staff. We also gained legislative approval to realign the department as outlined in our strategic plan, our blueprint for future growth. Our successful efforts resulted in additional relief positions, funding for the step pay plan, positions to enhance work squads, and improved security systems at existing institutions. What we gained affects every employee in the department and really, it's overwhelming.
What It Means
The additional benefits we've gained are fairly straightforward and it is my impression that most employees are pleased. Four hundred and eighty-four positions and $6.2 million was provided for additional staff. This should result in a sufficient relief factor to provide further training for officers. It will also allow officers to take annual leave and have days off that they can count on without being required to pull double shifts or cancel family plans.
Far less clear, however, is how the reorganization of the Florida DC affects us. In simple terms, it allows DC to more effectively use our resources, both human and fiscal, to help us realize the goals in the strategic plan. The realignment of existing functions within DC provides the department with more flexibility for growth and moves us toward performance based budgeting and accountability. But what does it mean for the department, really?
It means change. I've been talking and writing about change for quite awhile. Change is inevitable. But it is a person's attitude toward change that makes the difference. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen people in meetings, at functions, at their post, or in their offices get that stubborn look on their faces when the subject of change (i.e. Total Quality Management Principles, Strategic Planning, Performance Based Budgeting) is introduced. However, I have been continually gratified and humbled by the willingness of DC employees to work through the process to gain acceptance of the changes implemented within the department. It is through their efforts that the department is well-positioned for the challenges of the 2lst century.
Why We Care
Working for the department is not just a job, it is a lifestyle. Working in corrections demands 24 hour vigilance. We make a difference because of our staff. Their attitude, conduct, dedication, and loyalty, makes a difference to each community, each co-worker, and to the inmates and offenders under our care. Taking the leap of faith to overcome their suspicion of change and all that it means truly makes every one of DC's employees the department's most valuable asset. We are making a difference. There is no doubt.
Harry K. Singletary, Jr. is chief executive officer (CEO) of the Department of Corrections. He was appointed to this position by Governor Lawton Chiles in April 1991. Singletary worked for 11 years in juvenile corrections in Illinois before moving back to Florida to accept a position as Region V Director in 1979. As DC Secretary, he is responsible for the direction and operation of all aspects of the Florida correctional system. During his tenure, he has sought to decentralize the department's administrative functions using Total Quality management techniques and has emphasized training and staff development, community partnerships, and increased public safety.