OLYMPIA — Bernie Warner spent less than a week as Washington's acting Secretary of Corrections.
Today Gov. Chris Gregoire took the “acting” out of the title and named him as her choice to to be the permanent replacement for Eldon Vail, who resigned last Friday as he faced the prospect that an affair he was having with a subordinate was going to become public.
Gregoire's office announced she had appointed Warner to the job with a salary of $147,000, the same salary Vail has been making. His appointment must be confirmed by the Senate, but that won't happen before the Legislature returns to a session. Unless there's another special session this year, the Legislature isn't scheduled to meet until January.
Warner sent a memo to Department of Corrections employees, say his goal was “to provide you with the high level of leadership you deserve.”
Vail told The Seattle Times in an interview that he resigned because he believed an affair he was having with a subordinate would be made public by someone who may have videotaped them leaving an Olympia motel. He said he took full responsibility for his actions, and is working on saving his marriage. The subordinate continues to work for the department.
A spokeswoman for Gregoire said the governor was not calling for an investigation “at this point” because Vail has resigned.