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Secretary's Message

July 19, 2013

I am so proud to share every week the great work occurring here at the Department of Juvenile Justice, and I hope you will take a moment to read the stories about the accomplishments of our colleagues and the youth in our care. I am always looking for opportunities to showcase DJJ employees and the work you do – on and off the clock – to enrich your communities. I know there is even more going on than what I report here, so I would like to encourage each of you to keep the weekly letter in mind and remember to share your good news. It’s easy – email news@djj.state.fl.us or call (850) 921–5900 by Thursday at noon (submissions after that time will be considered for the next week’s letter).


Wansley Walters

Congratulations PACE Center for Girls

Florida’s Pace Center for Girls has been awarded a three-year investment of $3.5 million from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF), consisting of funding from EMCF and the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF). This investment will enable PACE Center for Girls to provide more services to girls in Florida; conduct a rigorous study of effectiveness and cost benefit overtime; and create a platform for becoming the national model for what works with teen-aged girls who want to turn their lives in a positive direction.
The statewide PACE Center for Girls organization was chosen for this award in an open, national competition that drew 191 applications from leading nonprofits across the country. Congratulations PACE, and thank you for your dedication and commitment to Florida’s teen-aged girls!

Performance Management System

Throughout the coming weeks and months, I will continue to remind DJJ staff about the new performance management system initiative as it will entail much of the front-end work needed to move the agency’s implementation forward.

There is currently an intranet page, which you can access from any DJJ computer, dedicated to providing information on the performance management initiative. This page is where you will find answers to frequently asked questions, timeline updates and other relevant materials and information. As new information and materials become available, they will be posted on this intranet page so you are encouraged to check the site frequently.  You may access the page here or by clicking the “new performance management process” icon under announcements on the home page of the intranet.

Starting this month, supervisors and managers will begin mandatory training on the new performance management module as well as creating SMART expectations for each position throughout the agency. As they are trained, they will load each of their employee’s performance expectations (non-SMART to begin) for the period of April 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013, into the People First System. You will automatically receive an email once your expectations have been entered; at this time, the agency-wide cascaded standards will have also been entered. You must acknowledge receipt via the People First System.

I encourage you to view a simulation of the People First performance module, which is available under the “Performance Management Resources” section of the new intranet page. The simulation will give you an overview of the module and the necessary steps employees will take as a part of the performance management process.

If you have questions or comments, please email performance.management@djj.state.fl.us

Probation Update

I always love hearing when our officers go the extra mile. This story comes from Circuit 17 JPO Travisa Skinner. Travisa made a recent visit to the Central Pasco Girls Academy in Circuit 6 where she met with a youth who had been put on close supervision. The young lady had attempted suicide, become aggressive, and rejected her therapist just days before meeting with Travisa. Travisa helped her understand how she could use her coping skills and advised her on ways to successfully communicate with the facility staff. Since Travisa’s return to Ft. Lauderdale, the youth has been upgraded to standard supervision. She said it felt good to let her know that someone does care and that she was not just another kid on her caseload. This good news reminds me just how much effort our JPO’s give to their cases, and I am grateful for their dedication.

Recently, the youth in Alachua County dug a trench in Squirrel Ridge Park in Gainesville to install a sprinkler system as a part of the community service cleanup project. These youth, who clean up the park the first Saturday of each month, earned valuable community service hours by performing other necessary tasks such as picking up trash, watering plants and laying mulch. They also learn about the significance of the park, which includes many memorial markers, plants, and hand-painted tiles which honor victims of crime. The youth earn a sense of purpose by giving back to those who have lost so much. A special thanks to Burger King Manager Gina Britton who sponsored the event and provided lunch for the hard-working youth.

From Circuit 9, SJPO Omar Bohlar has been selected for the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency Chapter (FCCD) VII Distinguished Service Award. Omar will be recognized by the FCCD for his achievements with DJJ next Wednesday. During his tenure, Omar has gone above and beyond with his excellent service to youth and families and performs his duties with excellence and care.

On Monday, CPO Dan Rodgers from Circuit 18 was appointed as a Brevard Workforce Champion. As a champion, Dan works with community leaders, workforce board members and others to advance the youth employment programs of the workforce. Dan is also a member of the E3 (employment, education and economic development) committee, which partners with the Brevard Workforce and serves as the youth council. The Brevard Workforce has been a partner in the Brevard Re-Entry Board since 2009.

Delinquency Report

The Office of Research and Planning has gathered the preliminary analysis of delinquency arrests during the 2012-13 fiscal year, and I am happy to report that we are continuing to see very strong declines in delinquency in almost every single major offense category. Last year, felony offenses declined by 10%, misdemeanors declined by 13% and overall delinquency declined in 51 of the 67 counties. What’s even more encouraging is that all misdemeanor offense categories declined which not only shows declining delinquency in the state, but an increased reliance on civil citation for minor offenses. The official numbers should be released in September. I would like to extend kudos to Mark Greenwald and his team for compiling this information. 

Workers Compensation Report

This week the June Workers Compensation report was released and as the fiscal year concluded I am pleased to report a continued positive trend in safety. Workplace accidents and injuries have reduced 10% in the last year. Better yet, since 2009-10 we have seen 192 fewer accidents and injuries to employees in the workplace. Many factors have contributed to this positive trend and everyone should be congratulated for making safety a priority. That said our goal is to have zero accidents or injuries and to accomplish this goal safety needs to be continuously discussed in staff meetings with employees. Making safety in our workplace has paid off and is very much appreciated. 

2013 Sales Tax Holiday

The new school year is right around the corner, which also brings the 2013 Sales Tax Holiday – scheduled to begin Friday, August 2, 2013, and end Sunday, August 4, 2013. DJJ encourages parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and community members to “Get Kids Back-to-School Ready” by taking advantage of the 2013 Sales Tax Holiday.

For the first time this year, computers and computer accessories priced $750 or less have been included. These items along with clothing, footwear and certain school supplies will be exempt from state and local option sales tax. A complete list of items can be accessed by visiting the Current Topics section of the Department of Revenue’s website at  http://dor.myflorida.com/dor

Service Awards

Please join me in extending best wishes and congratulations to the following DJJ staff on their service to the State of Florida. Their dedication to public service and commitment to serving the people of this great state is commendable.

 Wanda Harper 35 years Brenda Billington 20 years
Stuart Wolcott 35 years Rosa Nichols  15 years 
 Mona Magee 15 years     
 Sheila Boeve 15 years     

Art Projects from Volusia County

Volusia County Art Project

We have some very talented kids from Volusia County, and you can see it in the artwork they produce. These pictures were sent over by Superintendent Paul Finn. The goal was to paint the picture of the centerpiece on the table shown here. After the art class was over one of the kids asked Paul if they could eat the art props. Paul said that even after 30 years of service the kids still crack him up.

Volusia County Art projects

Certified Public Management Program

Currently, five DJJ employees are participating in the Certified Public Management (CPM) program offered by the Florida Center for Professional Management at Florida State University. CPM is a nationally recognized program that develops the leadership skills of public managers and supervisors. Prevention Operations Consultant Teresa Millan, Administrative Review Specialist Gary Mogan, Assistant General Counsel Kim Ward and chief probation officers Jill Wells and Wydee’a Wilson are on target to graduate from the two-year certification program in July 2014. The enhanced skills and management techniques DJJ CPMs bring to their jobs contributes greatly to our agency’s culture of continuous improvement. CPM certification is one way DJJ seeks to enhance the professional skills of key staff. It supports our Department’s succession planning strategy, which promotes the continuity of reform efforts as we look to the future.

Be on the lookout: Florida CPM organizations are currently planning on-site, half-day training opportunities for alumni and students in locations around the state.