Friday, February 15, 2013
Smith Unit Officer who blew whistle on staffing now faces harassment, disciplinary action by admin
The "anonymous" TDCJ Smith unit employee who came forward and blew the whistle on what could have been considered a deadly staffing situation for employees of the Smith Unit in Lamesa just last week received an employee disciplinary this week for what looks at this point to be in retaliation for that act. The employee came forward and went on a local TV station (KAMC Lubbock) with agency staffing issues that could result in a dangerous situation for staff and offenders assigned there. The employee, who went on a local TV news cast speaking behind a blackened screen to avoid being retaliated against by the agency was soon to be identified in the work place.
That employee, who is in contact with the Backgate, is now in fear of the unit administration for merely bringing a safety issue to light. The Smith unit is listed as only being roughly 50% staffed at this time. Meaning staff are being mandated to work overtime, and some positions are still unmanned at times although staffing plans require they be staffed at all times. TDCJ claims that outside employers are luring Officers to other jobs in the private sector that have shown huge gains in profit and growth. Some of those jobs include the oil and gas industry where employees can double what state employment can offer each month.
The Backgate is in touch with state legislators regarding the issues regarding the harassment of this employee, and I'm sure that there will be some private attorneys interested as well. Seems to me that if the state would correct their own issues that it's employees wouldn't feel the need to go elsewhere to solve them. It's called being proactive. Stay tuned. We are riding this one out.