North Carolina Department of Correction News - May 1999

Officers voice concerns over evaluation process

A group of correctional officers from across the state were greeted by Acting Correction Secretary Joe Hamilton and other state leaders April 6 as the officers met to discuss the department’s job performance evaluation system for officers.

"We’re here because of the concerns officers expressed about last year’s evaluations and to show our support as you seek to make this system fair and accurate," Hamilton told the group gathered at Staff Training offices in Raleigh. "And then we need to communicate that system to our managers and their staff so we help our employees understand what is expected of them."

In last year’s job evaluations, managers rated 33 percent of the correctional officers very good or outstanding. Another 46 percent were rated good. Other ratings were lower. A number of officers expressed concerns about hearing that they were not able to receive a rating above good, a requirement for the merit pay increase.

"Correctional officers have expressed concerns about the evaluation process. That’s not unique to DOC," said Steve Davis, Assistant Director of the Office of State Personnel. "It can be difficult to evaluate performance. You must find ways to establish fairness and consistency so that employees believe the system is fair."

State Employees Association of North Carolina leaders said they are unhappy with the state’s current evaluation process and are working to change it. SEANC Director Troy Green said they are working with State Personnel and the legislature to develop a new system. While these efforts may result in recommendations as early as this fall, Green urged the correctional officers to work now to fix the current system.

"We fielded your calls by the hundreds last year," Green said. "And we talked to correction managers about your concerns."

As discussions with the officers began, Kathy Reitzel of Correction Personnel said a number of factors such as the number of officers being hired, vacancies created by promotions, the turnover rate of new officers and staff reductions lend weight to arguments that the job evaluation ratings may have been accurate. But she said the team of officers was formed to help establish a better system and to make sure that people fully understand it and believe it to be fair.

Officers working with Reitzel’s staff on the project include: Western Region – James Gribble of Foothills, Mary Hardin of Rutherford, Mike Sprinkle of Marion, Jeff Teague of Wilkes, Ronnie Ritchie of Cleveland and Ricky Peele of Western;

Piedmont Region – Robert Stanford of Davidson, Michael Mixon of Cabarrus, Patricia Whitfield of Dan River, Raymond Staples of Caswell, John Inman of Southern, Carol Mullinax of Randolph and Kathy Kelly of Sanford;

Central Region – Chris Biggerstaff of Warren, Susie Wilson of NCCIW, Glenn Horton of Franklin, Gary Britt of Wake, Zollie Boone of Nash, Scott Brown of Central Prison;

South Central Region – Patricia Bryant of Lumberton, Roger Weber of Hoke, Craig Johnson of Johnston, Herman Dockery of Morrison, Carson Locklear of Lumberton and Don Edwards of Brown Creek; and

Eastern Region – Carolyn Lanier of Pender, Lewellyn Keys of Eastern, George Lewis of Carteret and Cynthia Cole of Neuse.

These employees will be seeking feedback from other correctional officers through the end of May for discussion at their next meeting in June. u

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