Some workers to lose comp time after Phelps closure

By By John Guidroz / American Press

Some employees at C. Paul Phelps Correctional Facility in DeQuincy will not get their comp time payments after the facility’s

expected closure in November, officials with the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections said Thursday.

Tanisha Matthews, the department’s

human resources director, met with Phelps employees to discuss the steps

that will occur

before the facility shuts down. Department officials announced the

closure last Friday and say the move is expected to save

the state $2.6 million in the current fiscal year.

Matthews said higher-level employees, like supervisors or managers, will not get money from comp time, which is time spent

at the facility past normal working hours. The American Press spoke with two Phelps employees who will feel the effects of this. One said he will lose out on earning more than $5,000 worth

of comp time.

Matthews said that money does not have to be paid to those employees because they are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards

Act.

Those who are covered by the FLSA include security officers and employees with the rank of cadet, sergeant or master sergeant.

“They weren’t happy,” she said of the announcement. “It’s a hard pill to swallow.”

Matthews said they will meet with

permanent employees twice — once after they have submitted the official

layoff plan to state

Civil Service Department Director Shannon Templet, and again after

the director approves the plan. They will meet with probational

employees once about their layoff plan, which she said is separate

from the permanent employees. The plans, which show which

positions are being eliminated, will be submitted to the Civil

Service Department by Oct. 1, Matthews said.

Any vacant positions will be posted at Phelps five days before they are announced on the Civil Service website, she said.

Phelps employees whose positions are transferred to other facilities can refuse the offer.

“For some employees, it’s not feasible to move to an institution that is too far away,” Matthews said.

Matthews said the employees’ group

insurance will continue through the end of November. Pam Laborde,

communications director

for the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, said employes

can pick up COBRA insurance after the group policy ends.

Employees will be paid for up to 300 hours of annual leave on their final paychecks if they have earned that much.

“If they have served 200 hours, they will be paid for 200,” Matthews said. “But if they have 500 hours, they will get 300.”

Laborde said this policy was used for

the closure at Forcht Wade Correctional Center in Caddo Parish and J.

Levi Dabadie Correctional

Center in Pineville.

Matthews said the human resources department will meet with Phelps employees at 10 a.m. today and 9 a.m. Saturday.