Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3185
By: Turner, Bob


Some of the reasons for the current correction officer shortage in Texas
are low pay, frustration by pay schedules that top out after three years of
employment, a complicated grievance process, and a training regimen where
one in four correctional officers does not receive the required 40 hours of
in-service training. It is estimated that the cost of correctional officer
turnover in fiscal year 2000 was over $40 million.  The number of new hires
cannot meet the demand created by increased attrition.  In an effort to
increase the number and percentage of corrections officers, House Bill 3185
sets forth reforms to improve the recruitment and retention of Texas
corrections officers.  


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice in
SECTION 3 (Sec. 494.015) of this bill. 


House Bill 3185 amends the Government Code to require the Texas Board of
Criminal Justice (board) to create a professional standards and labor
oversight committee to review the implementation of and make
recommendations for rule and policy changes to:  

_career ladders established under personnel provisions of the Government

_professional development of correctional officers and supervisory
personnel; labormanagement cooperation, recruitment, and retention
policies; and  

_disciplinary and grievance procedures established under the information of
public interest regarding complaints provisions of the Government Code.  

The bill requires the board, in conjunction with the professional standards
and labor oversight committee, to submit a report biennially to the
legislature that includes the matters considered under the bill and the
information contained in the report  provided to the board from the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice (department).   

The bill requires the board to establish procedures and practices through
which the department will address employment-related grievances. The bill
requires the board to adopt:  

_a form on which an employee may state an employment-related grievance and
request a specific corrective action;  

_reasonable time limits for an employee to submit  an employment-related
grievance and any subsequent appeals and for management to respond to a
grievance or appeal;  

_a three-step process by which an employee's employment-related grievance
is submitted  and a subsequent appeal process through the chain of command,
on completion of which the employee may choose to submit the grievance to
binding arbitration with an impartial third party; and  

_a program to advertise and explain the grievance procedure to all

The bill authorizes an employee to be represented by a person selected by
the employee to participate in the employment-related grievance process on
behalf of the employee.  Any grievance proceeding in which a department
employee serves as a representative is to be held during the normal
business hours of the department, unless the employee and the department
agree otherwise.  Subject to the approval of the employee in the
employment-related grievance action, the department and the employee are
authorized to enter into binding arbitration on the action.  The bill sets
forth provisions for what actions the department is authorized to make to
facilitate arbitration.  The bill provides that a  grievance action is
confidential, except to the extent that provisions regarding public
information apply.  The bill prohibits the department from retaliating
against an employee who files an employment-related grievance.  The bill
requires the department to submit to the board an annual report on the use
of the grievance procedure, and specifies information the report must

The bill requires the board to develop a career program for the
institutional division to retain professionally qualified employees.  The
bill sets forth factors on which the program must base the advancement of
an employee.  The bill requires the board to promote a correctional officer
candidate to the level of Texas Law Enforcement Correctional Officer upon
completion of the hours of training and the years of experience required by
the board.  The bill sets forth requirements for the development of
training programs and employee participation.     

The bill requires the board to adopt a policy mandating monthly
labor-management meetings between each district supervisor or the district
supervisor's designee and employees selected in a process established by
rule by the board or any representatives chosen by the selected employees.
At a monthly labormanagement meeting, both parties are required to have an
opportunity to improve labor-management relations by addressing issues
selected by the parties.  The bill requires a district supervisor to submit
a report every third month to the director of the institutional division
describing the progress of the meetings.  
The bill requires the director of the institutional division to conduct
statewide meetings with employee representatives. The board, in
consultation with the executive director, is required to adopt procedures
regarding the statewide meetings.  


September 1, 2001.