Teachers, Clerks OK but Guards? ‘Lunacy!'

Dozens of correctional officers at San Diego's Richard J. Donovan State Correctional Facility could wind up receiving so-called "surplus notices" that they could be laid off within 120 days.

"The thought of laying off correctional officers is absolute lunacy," said Lance Corcoran, spokesman for the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. (CCPOA), in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Nearly 1,000 CCPOA members work at the Donovan prison, which houses nearly 4,800 inmates.

"The inmates have to be fed, they have to have medical care, and that means correctional officers," Corcoran said. "We have very few as it is right now.

"We've cancelled academies, we've got vacancies rampant ... (a round of layoffs) is going to wind up costing the state more money, because you're going to have to pay overtime to fill those positions."

Because of seniority and so-called "bumping rights", 20,000 surplus notices are going out  as the first step in the Schwarzenegger Administration's process of eliminating at least 10,000 state jobs in the absence of a budget agreement in the legislature.

Besides  Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation workers, employees of the Dept. of Health & Human Services and 52 other agencies maintained by the state's general fund are being notified of potential layoffs..

Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for the state Dept. of Personnel Administration, said in a telephonic interview Tuesday that the notices give those employees 120 days to to apply for intra-department transfers or jobs with other state agencies, and receive a preference over non-state or other state workers.

Jolley said CCPOA members are not currently protected against layoffs by collective bargaining agreements, as are the 95,000 members of the Service Employees International Union.

According to Jolley, state employees with the least seniority are being targeted with the surplus notices.

Seth Unger, spokesman for the Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said one out of three state employees -- some 67,000 -- work for the department, half of them as correctional officers.

Corcoran said California has the nation's 4th lowest ratio of correctional officers to inmates.

"These positions have to be filled on a daily basis," he said. It's going to cost you time-and-a-half."

Contact Us