The nearly 13,000 employees for the Georgia Department of Corrections are its most valuable resource. Corrections Human Resources Management Administration provides support to these individuals by developing, coordinating, monitoring, evaluating, and administering personnel functions, department-wide. It provides oversight, consultation, technical assistance, and policy direction for correctional facilities, probation offices, and the various departmental units located across the state, which are charged with carrying out personnel functions at the local level. Major personnel functions include:
The department currently has 456 employees who are members of the National Guard and Reserves. Of these, 224 employees have served at some point as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. We are extremely proud of these employees. We also honor the courage of Officer Bobby Franklin and Sergeant Philip Dodson, who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our country.
The decline of the number of GDC employees included in the classified service continued as a result of the Merit System Reform Act passed back in 1996. The Act designated employees hired after 7/1/96 as unclassified. At the end of FY 1999, 62% of the department’s staff was in the classified service and 38% were in the unclassified service. Planning for a new workforce is a challenge. Ensuring departmental knowledge is passed to new employee’s is critical for the continued operation of GDC. Classified employees are primarily employees hired prior to 7/1/1996. Unclassified employees represent the remainder of the workforce. The table and chart below represent the staff transition:Classified vs. Unclassified GDC Employees
The Governor signed an executive order regarding WorkAway on September 9, 2003. In a time when raises are scarce and benefits are getting more expensive, the Governor's executive order cleared the way for GDC to offer another benefit to its employees. GDC was awarded funding from the Clean Air Campaign to develop a WorkAway program. During FY 2004 GDC launched a pilot program for WorkAway. WorkAway contains two components, Telework and Alternative Work Schedules. In FY 2006, the Governor ordered that WorkAway be expanded to as many employees in the department as possible. Currently, 78% of all GDC employees participate in at least one component of WorkAway. Although these types of changes to work schedules and work weeks are not for everyone, the response to this new benefit has been overwhelmingly positive. The pilot projects appear to have benefited not only the environment by reducing pollution and congestion but have enhanced work/life issues by allowing employees to work when they want and spend more time with their family. In all, GDC has found the WorkAway program to be a positive benefit to both employees and to the department.
The department implemented “On-site Random Drug Testing” effective April 2006. Employees, randomly selected by the Georgia Merit System for drug testing, are tested on-site. As drug test laboratories are normally a distance from the work site, this change results in less time away from the job. Conducting drug testing on-site, as opposed to using drug test laboratories, results in an estimated annual $50,000 savings.
The Department of Corrections is committed to a drug free work force. All screening of applicants and employees is conducted in accordance with applicable guidelines and regulations.
The department has implemented an Education Incentive that pays employees for obtaining college degrees. The initiative supports Governor Perdue’s goal of a better-educated Georgia and is in harmony with GDC’s status as a learning organization and one that values its employees as well as education. If all prescribed criteria are met, employees earning an Associate Degree may receive a 3% lump sum payment; those earning a Bachelor’s Degree may receive a 5% lump sum payment; those earning a Master’s Degree may receive a 5% lump sum payment.
The department has launched the Health and Wellness Program to implement the Governor’s “Healthier Georgia” initiative. Each facility has its own coordinator who has set up a local program and serves as a conduit for health information. A department Health and Wellness Coordinator provides information and guidance to the facility coordinators.
The Health and Wellness Program provides opportunities for all employees to increase their personal Health and Wellness awareness thereby enabling them to make healthy lifestyle choices. These opportunities include: