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Top Florida Prison Brass Forced to Reapply for Their Jobs

The Secretary for Florida’s Department of Corrections (FDC), Julie Jones, required the agency’s top 12 officials to reapply for their jobs. The move affects the positions of the top brass at each of FDC’s three regions.

It allowed Jones to reject the highest ranking officials without having to fire them. Each of the 12 are career FDC officials who have risen through the ranks to teach their lofty positions. “We want the right people in the right seats,” said McKinley Lewis, FDC spokesman.

The reapplication process is part of Jones’ Regional Realignment and Centralization Project, which seeks to streamline regional offices and centralize the agency’s administrative and support functions, while requiring hundreds of employees to reapply for their jobs.

“We are confident that these projects will increase accountability and allow the Department to further utilize our resources,” Jones wrote in a letter to employees. While it “will have no direct effect” on most of FDC’s 23,000 employees, she warned “these changes will drastically impact the way in which they conduct daily operations within the department, and may necessitate a move to employment outside of our agency.”

The FDC’s sordid history causes critics to question if the moves are just the façade of accountability. “I don’t know what their motives are,” said Judy Thompson, director of The Forgotten Majority, a non-profit that advocates for prisoner rights. “It could just be a dog and pony show for the upcoming legislative session. I don’t know. The only thing I can say for sure is I’m not getting [any] less complaints. I’m getting more, and you have to intervene to keep people alive.”

One legislator was pleased with the move. “The good thing that is coming out is we’re actually reviewing performance,” said Rep. Carlos Trujillo, chairman of the House’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee. “For way too long it was status quo, regardless of outcome. Her reviewing everyone individually on their strengths and weaknesses is a good start.”

Source: Miami Herald 

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