Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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July 14, 2014

More State Home jobs lost; three positions to remain

Corsicana — Last week, 17 of the last 20 employees of the Corsicana Residential Treatment Center got letters telling them their positions were being cut as of July 31.

The Texas legislature ordered the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to close one of its facilities. The TJJD chose Corsicana because of its small youth population and the age of its buildings. Corsicana was a specialty facility, handling only those youth who had psychological and emotional issues, as well as the criminal issues.

The Legislative Budget Board has yet to act on Corsicana’s closure after the TJJD staff turned the decision over to that body, but the TJJD went ahead and transferred out the remaining youth being treated to a facility in Mart. Most of the employees who interacted with the kids — guards, teachers, therapists — were also told they needed to either transfer or find other jobs. Two dozen employees, mostly those who worked in maintenance and the office, were left in Corsicana.

“Really, since the kids left on Dec. 19, we’ve been conducting inventories, organizing records and that kind of thing in preparation for the repurposing of the facility or closure,” said Jimmy Hammond, supervisor at the CRTC. Hammond was one of those who received the letter.

“They’ve presented us with positions to transfer into, and we’re waiting to hear back on that,” he said. “Some are going to retire, some have put in to transfer into positions, and some have chosen to just go ahead and leave their employment with the state come the 31st.”

Just a few people will be left after Aug. 1, mostly to protect the buildings and keep them maintained. One person will work in the warehouse, one in the maintenance and one in training through Navarro College. The partnership with Navarro College for employee training will continue, but those folks will stay at the college instead of at the CRTC in the future.

Hammond said the remaining employees are unhappy, but they know it’s out of their hands.

“We’re certainly saddened by the fact that we’re losing our jobs and that Corsicana is not going to be in the picture of things, but truthfully, we have no control over it,” he said.

No decision has been made about what to do with the facility after July 31, at least not by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, said Jim Hurley, spokesman for the TJJD in Austin.

“We’re waiting to see what our direction is going to be,” Hurley said. “Basically, we reached the end of the tasks that were being performed there. The work people were left there to do was completed. It was time for us to make a decision.”

In his letter to TJJD staffers, David Reilly, interim executive director with the TJJD, thanked the employees for their service.

“While this action was a financial and business necessity, it was not a decision taken lightly because it affects many valued employees and their families,” he stated in the letter to TJJD staff. “I greatly appreciate the service each has given to the state and to the youth in our care. We will do everything we can to assist each of them in this time of transition.”

—————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com.

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