“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” – C. Northcote Parkinson, “Parkinson’s Law”
Waco – Any survivor of corporate gamesmanship will recognize the moves.
Parkinson’s law of bureaucracy is played out in real time as wheels within larger wheels within larger wheels have created more power, more prestige, and more executive positions with greater salaries while relinquishing more of that which is constitutionally defined as a ministerial duty of a Constitutional office to a contractor, a private sector corporation.
Sheriff Parnell McNamara’s administration has refined a new and improved way to make the end run around the legislative body with oversight of the department’s budget through the industrial psychology gambit of reduction of jail staff through attrition that is driven by unpleasant conditions, increased the overtime budget $300,000, and swapped a Lieutenancy vacancy created through the criminal indictment of Jennifer Howell in favor of the promotion of a man who by his own sworn, notarized admission of the commission of a felony as a Lieutenant in charge of training and personnel in net effect ensured his demotion to a Patrol Division Sergeant’s position through rehire.
Chris Eubank admitted he shredded a report of an employment termination of a corrections officers by shredding the paperwork reporting the fact to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) of the dismissal for misconduct of former Corrections Officer Spencer Rowell because it “wasn’t final.” When confronted, he resigned, only to be re-hired by Sheriff McNamara as a Patrol Sergeant.
He is now a Lieutenant. Here’s how that was done:
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Jennifer Howell made a meteoric rise through the ranks as a Corrections Sergeant, then following a recent promotion to Lieutenant furnished information on a vehicle license registration to a member of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club following the gang assault of one the members of that organization by members of a rival club. When she was allowed to resign, Eubank returned to his former pay grade. And then they arrested her. A former star employee with a fast track record of promotion now faces indictment.
Former members of the jail staff swear up and down it’s a routine matter to obtain that kind of information for acquaintances and constituents, even though misuse of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Texas Law Enforcement Teletype System (TLETS) is classified as a felony crime.
We have obtained through a Public Information Act request the official record of a similar case in which a patrol officer made the same misuse of the TLETS system, only to be disciplined by a having to attend a training session and having a reprimand placed in his personnel file.
Knowledgeable observers have made note of the one-third attrition in jail staff during the first quarter of the year, a fact that places the factor right on track for the annual trend of a 50 percent turnover in that division.
It all works out nicely on a double-edged basis. Because of a contractual obligation to LaSalle Corrections to maintain a minimum population of inmates at the Jack Harwell Detention Center, the $50 million boondoggle with the $100 million debt service that favors tax free muni bond coupon clippers while at the same time discouraging any notions by staff to unionize or demand civil service status.
Most Constitutional Officers treat their at-will employee force equitably by requiring a new application for employment with each successive term of office. They then either offer the position, or not, at the time of the new term.
The McNamara administration has found a way to downsize its publicly employed work force through the creation of miserable working conditions. Employees are routinely denied their day off, vacations are cancelled at the drop of a hat when staff to inmate ratio drops perilously close to below Jail Commission standards, and – of course – there is no happiness about any of this.
The Legendary has obtained proof of the Commissioners’ Court’s acquiescence to this bit of sociopathic chicanery through – you guessed it – a Public Information Act request duly approved by the Attorney General’s staff.
As one may plainly see, the practice is to reduce the budget for payroll of full-time employees by $300,000 and – wait for it – increase the overtime budget by the exact amount.
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