Q: Have you an end goal for your time as corrections commissioner, that by the time you leave you would have met these objectives?
A: My end goal is to leave MDOC with highly trained professionals who are committed to making sure citizens are safe. With that in mind, I expect to have increased the starting pay and upgraded training for corrections officers and parole and probation agents. We must find the funds in order to pay our staff a living wage. MDOC has a cadre of dedicated employees who are second to none. But we don’t pay them enough. Corrections officers do jobs no one else will do. If we don’t fix their wages, I fear we will pay a price. In our business, escapes are constantly possible. The recent escape of two convicted murderers from an upstate New York prison can happen anywhere. I am constantly asking my staff here are we doing it right. Can we do better and how? We must stay abreast of new trends and best practices. Constant re-evaluation of our department will become the norm. I want to make MDOC a career attractive agency for both current and potential employees. I have certain individuals attempting to detract my executive decisions because they are contrary to their “good ole boy” agenda. Doing things their way is part of how we got to where we are today. States, cities, and communities all over America continue to be negatively impacted financially either by shallow, backward thinking leadership or leaders who won’t make the difficult decisions. Often the right decisions are the most difficult ones.