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Published by the Port of Walla Walla
Port provides leadership in supporting penitentiary payroll, promoting improvements

“The Taskforce has worked
effectively for us in the past...our best hope is that it will continue with some success down the road.”

   John Christy, WSP Correctional Officer

   In the face of imminent job cuts - the loss of more than 170 positions - at the beginning of 2012, Walla Walla’s Washington State Penitentiary Taskforce is again called to meet the challenge of competing interests.
   Because of state budget reductions, the Department of Corrections is seeking ways to significantly cut prison operating costs...at the same time Walla Walla is concerned about the “fairness” of a significant reduction in jobs.
   Port Commissioner Paul Schneidmiller says the cuts will reach far beyond prison walls. “For every 100 corrections jobs, another 67 community jobs will be indirectly impacted.”
   The Port and Taskforce are expected to appeal to the governor and DOC for more time to allow the legislature an opportunity to look at the reduction in forces and other cost reducing alternatives.
   “It will be great if we can come up with an initiative that will solve the expense challenges without eliminating jobs,” Schneidmiller said.


   “In 2009 I approached the Port of Walla Walla with concern that the Washington State Penitentiary was vulnerable to job reductions and restructuring...the community needed to pay attention and rally behind one of the largest employers in the Walla Walla Valley.
   “Before long the Washington State Penitentiary Community Taskforce was formed. The Port has been and continues to be its leader.
   “The accomplishments of this Community Taskforce have been nothing short of impressive during these challenging economic times."

Dick Morgan
Director of Washington State Prisons


 July, 2009 Taskforce kickoff meeting to study Washington State Legislative proposal to eliminate 1,580 prison beds statewide.
 September, 2009 Taskforce meets to review updated economic impact analysis and unique characteristics of WSP documents. Taskforce findings submitted to Office of Financial Management. No other community has provided this kind of detail.
 October, 2009 Taskforce (Port and City of Walla Walla) retains former Washington State Representative Dave Mastin to lobby the 2010 legislature to commit funds for design of two new medium security units and expand west kitchen complex at WSP.
 June, 2010 $6.8 million secured for predesign efforts for MSU and kitchen.
 June 2011 State capital budget includes $42 million to construct new medium security units and expansion of west kitchen complex.
September, 2011 Construction contract for new units awarded to Lydig Construction.
October, 2011 Governor Chris Gregoire endorses plan developed by the Department of Corrections that will reconfigure WSP operations, saving an estimated $10 million a year, but cutting more than 170 jobs at the Walla Walla prison.

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