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Advisory Council on Ethics (ACE)

Advisory Council on Ethics Opinion No. 4

August 14, 1997

Should the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have a governing directive or policy for the use of an Employee Contact Log?

Many facilities use some form of Employee Contact Log or Record to record information about an employee's performance. Many facilities use a form number 1155 for this purpose. Some facilities do not maintain an Employee Contact Log. It is used most often in the Institutional and State Jail Divisions.

The purpose of an Employee Contact Log is to require a supervisor to document an employee's performance periodically during the year. This documentation provides feedback to an employee about his/her performance and provides the supervisor with a record the supervisor can review prior to filling out the employee's annual performance evaluation.

There is inconsistency in the procedures used for this purpose. Some facilities use a Contact Log while others do not. Some use form 1155 while others do not. Some allow only supervisors to make entries in the log. Some allow employees to add their comments. The frequency used to document employee contact also varies. Some facilities require the supervisor and employee to initial or sign the log to acknowledge that entries have been made. Some do not.

It is the opinion of the Advisory Council on Ethics that the agency should establish a directive or policy for guidance in the use of an Employee Contact Log if it is to be used. If used, it can serve as a reference point for all employees' performance. Good work, bad work, training, etc., can be documented. This information can be used for the employee's performance evaluation. The use of an 1155 should not be left to the discretion of a facility or department. It could even be sent with an employee that changes jobs. The employee should be given the opportunity to review the log on request and add comments about entries made by supervisors. Without any standard operating procedures for its use, an Employee Contact Log can be used in a manner that is unethical and counterproductive to the improvement of an employee's performance. If it is used properly, it can be a valuable tool for all concerned.