New office to boost communication, efficiency, fiscal responsibility

A new Southern Region satellite office for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Office of Labor Relations (OLR) should help improve and maintain its high level of efficiency, according to Chief Devin Fong. In maintaining a continuous improvement mindset, the new office will “increase productivity, fiscal responsibility and communication with Southern Region institutions.”

In July, OLR opened the office with the assistance and cooperation of the Division of Adult Parole Operations Southern Region Headquarters.

Two OLR Labor Relations Specialists will be stationed at Diamond Bar and will provide guidance and support to Southern Region institutions, according to Associate Chief Margie McCune.

Maria Cardenas and Jenifer Hernandez will staff the satellite office. Cardenas has worked as a Labor Relations Analyst (LRA) at Richard J. Donovan Correction Facility since 2012. Hernandez was also an LRA, working at the California Institution for Women since 2013.

“The way we’re going to continue to achieve change as a department is through our employees,” Chief Fong said, explaining his office’s philosophy. “CDCR is the largest department with 57,000 employees, 17 different bargaining units and seven unions. We have 35 institutions and the Division of Juvenile Justice. OLR will need to maintain its continuous improvement mindset.”

The OLR strives to carry out their overall mission, promoting and maintaining positive labor relations, while incorporating departmental strategic goals. The OLR believes that this new addition is a piece of that puzzle.

“We strive to ensure not only our program needs are met, but also to meet departmental goals, provide oversight and direction in relation to labor, and combine the needs of our employees and counterparts to administer effective and efficient labor management relationships,” said Chief Fong. “Our new office is one step closer to improving our processes and increasing the efficiency in what we do.”

CDCR leadership believes the approach will benefit all stakeholders.

“By placing these resources closer to the institutions, DAI believes there will be an increased level of communication with stakeholders,” said Kelly Harrington, Director of the Division of Adult Institutions. “I believe this will be a great tool.”