AZCOPS, ADJC join in historic meetings

By Joe Glen, Spokesman

Maricopa & Pima Juvenile Corrections Associations

On June 13-20, AZCOPS President Ed Neidkowski, Executive Director Jim Parks, and this writer joined ADJC Director Charles Flanagan for historic meetings with our members.

This was the first time in ADJC history that an ADJC director has met with members exclusively, with one meeting at the Tucson AZCOPS office, and the other at Adobe Mountain School in Phoenix. Director Flanagan answered tough questions about the new personnel system changes, employee due process, and job and pension security. Concerns were voiced about employees forced to go “at-will” in September. Director Flanagan provided information about protections that would be in place to ensure fair treatment of all employees.

He reaffirmed his “open door / phone/ email policy.” Flanagan has a reputation for not tolerating abuse of employees.

Questions were also posed about privatization, (profitization). Director Flanagan shared that a vendor recently declined submitting a bid to take over ADJC services. This due to the massive cuts that Flanagan instituted – the most notable being the closure of Catalina facility in Tucson. (There is apparently simply no ‘fat’ left to cut for a profit to be made by the profiteers.) Flanagan told members that he has made significant administrative cuts while hiring line staff, parole officers and counselors to fill long-vacant positions. This redeployment of resources (into the very pay grade positions of our members), has resulted in impressive results. ADJC employees have maintained a 66 percent juvenile success rate, tripled high school diplomas over last year, with 48 more GED’s . All this while reducing taxpayer costs from over $300 per day per juvenile, to close to the national average of $240.

Pension reform was discussed. Members were reassured by this writer, that their legal contractual pension agreements would be defended by AZCOPS.

AZCOPS President Ed Neidkowski assured everyone that AZCOPS would continue to support juvenile corrections jobs and benefits – in employee due process, in the legislature, and in the courtroom.

On June 20, this writer and AZCOPS recruiter Tim Clark braved 104 degree heat at the Black Canyon facility, signing new members. Employees continue to join AZCOPS due to the unwavering support of ADJC by AZCOPS.