Lisa Sandberg - Express-News Austin Bureau
AUSTIN — The Texas Youth Commission has half the offenders it did 18 months ago, but the number of administrators overseeing the state's juvenile correctional agency hasn't been cut. In fact, it's grown, and some of the new bureaucrats have recently enjoyed raises.
Take Stephen Foster. He was hired last year as the agency's general counsel, at an annual salary of $104,000.
His new salary is almost 8 percent higher than that of his counterpart at the state's adult prison system, Melinda Hoyle Bozarth, even though Bozarth's agency oversees 158,000 inmates.
“It's an agency of high-priced employees in the central office trying to protect salaries and turf,” Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston and chair of the committee, said last week.
“Instead of spending money retaining and attracting new (juvenile correctional officers), TYC has chosen to increase central office personnel,” Whitmire and Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano, said in their letter to the auditor.
Nedelkoff suggested some of the criticism was unfair, saying, “Reforms take years and years.”
The framework and the foundations for reform, he said, are just about complete.
Now, Nedelkoff says he'll remain for the time being, and he's getting some help: Last week he named Cherie Townsend, a former agency employee, as executive director.