Department of Corrections
DOC Doing Better Job at Recruiting, Keeping Employees
Frankfort, KY – Kentucky Department of Corrections Commissioner John D. Rees today announced that the turnover rate for correctional officers had dropped from almost 29 percent in FY 05 to 21 percent for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
In that same period of July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006, the Department hired 962 employees, 39.7 percent of whom were women and 18.7 percent were minorities.
“Obviously, we’re doing better. We’re working harder in these areas – to hang on to our good employees and to recruit a more diverse workforce,” said Rees. “We established a branch within our Division of Personnel that focuses on recruitment and retention because you have to focus attention and resources on a problem in order to solve it. And while I’m not satisfied with a 21 percent turnover rate for our correctional officers, I want to see it much lower; an eight percent point drop in one year is good news.”
The new branch in DOC’s Division of Personnel, the Recruitment and Staff Development Branch, is headed by Teresa Harris. She and her staff work to recruit the most qualified candidates for openings, with an emphasis on minority hiring and also retention of employees. Employees of this newly-established branch attend career fairs and visit universities across the Commonwealth in order to recruit new employees.
But job fairs are just part of the story. Branch employees log and track each application received, making sure that each one is completed correctly. Follow through is also made with the Personnel Cabinet to ensure applicants are placed on the correct state registers. Once an applicant is certified to the register, branch employees then send a notification to the hiring offices within Corrections to inform them of possible candidates.
For the first time ever, exit surveys are conducted to find out why employees are leaving the Department and that information is tracked and reported.
Another reason cited for the reduced turnover of correctional officers is the raise they received last fall.
“Even though it just started appearing on their paychecks last October, our correctional officers had heard for quite a while that this administration and this commissioner were committed to getting them a raise and that it was in the works – and I think that kept some people from leaving,” said Tom Simpson, warden of the state’s only maximum-security prison, Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville. “This was the first significant pay increase our correctional officers had received in a long time. It was long overdue but much appreciated.”