DENVER - The Department of Corrections is hiring to fill a new, high-paid position in its executive office.
The new employee will be the deputy executive director, a job that has never existed before. The posting first appeared in late August and says the job will offer between $80,000 and $168,000 per year.
The posting expired Tuesday, but said the department is seeking "visionary and practical leadership."
It explains the deputy executive director will be responsible for implementing change in policies and processes, acting as a liaison to other state agencies or the legislature, managing a professional-level staff and "oversight of the public's perception of the (Colorado Department of Corrections)."
CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta requested an interview about the newly created position, but the DOC declined.
"We get to pick and choose what we're going to discuss and when to discuss it," said Roger Hudson, the DOC's new spokesman.
In the nearly six months since the murders of DOC Executive Director Tom Clements and Nate Leon by escaped parolee Evan Ebel, Marchetta has been investigating the department's policies and management. Only one person, parole director Tim Hand, was fired as a result of that case.
In June, the legislature approved $1 million to fund a new Fugitive Apprehension Unit to do what parole officers and two existing specialized units were failing to do - track fugitive parolees. The parole officer who was assigned to track Ebel was given a spot on the new FAU team.
The department's new executive director, Rick Raemisch, came on board in July.
A disappointing and long-awaited audit of the parole division was released in August. It called for clarification of the policies and guidelines for officers.
In summary, the DOC has expressed needs for more training, more resources, new policies and - now - new managers.
Hudson said the new deputy executive director position is an existing job with a new title and is not a new level of management. The job description specifically states, however, that this employee will maintain communication between the executive director and other directors and staff.
"Clements used an existing vacancy within his management team for the position of Director of Strategic Initiatives and Performance," Hudson wrote in an email, explaining that the new executive director is now using the budgeted salary in a new way.
-- Although he didn't consent to an in-person interview, Hudson did answer some questions through email:
7NEWS: Why is this position being created, including the thought process behind it?
Hudson: This is not a new position; this is an existing position within the Executive Director's office and retains the same position number. The position simply has a different title. The Executive Director is empowered by statute to organize the agency: “There is hereby created, within the department of corrections, the division of correctional industries, the division of adult parole, and such other divisions and programs as are deemed necessary by the executive director for the safe and efficient operation of the department. The executive director shall organize such divisions and programs in an appropriate manner. Subject to the provisions of section 13 of article XII of the state constitution, the executive director shall appoint the heads of such divisions, and the heads of such divisions shall appoint such personnel as are necessary to carry out the functions of the divisions.” (17-1-101 CRS)
7NEWS: What previous positions (as you mentioned) are being combined to create this position?
Hudson: There was not combination of positions. Mr. Clements used an existing vacancy within his management team for the position of Director of Strategic Initiatives and Performance. The position was SES through June 30, 2013. Like all SES positions within state government, the position is now at will.
7NEWS: What happened to those previous positions, their titles and salaries?
Hudson: Ms Kellie Wasko competed and was appointed to this position by Mr. Clements.
During the time that Mr. Carochi was acting Executive Director, he added responsibilities to this position to include those functions reporting to the Director of Clinical Services.
7NEWS: Is this a contract position or a permanent position?
Hudson: This is an at will position pursuant to personnel rules.
7NEWS: Where is the money coming from to fund this new position?
Hudson: This is not a new position; this is an existing position. The funding has been within the office of Executive Director.
7NEWS: How much money is being saved by adding this new position (per your comment it will save money)?
Hudson: Please reference above, This is an existing position with existing funding. As with many departments, this position is at the direction of the Executive Director to oversee special initiatives, projects and high-level operations of the Department.
7NEWS: Why add another layer of management- when, for example, parole officers already have team leaders, supervisors, AD’s, directors and executive directors.
Hudson: This is not a new level of management; this is the same level of management. This is simply a new title.