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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Department of Corrections

Warner named Corrections Secretary

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.

Corrections chief Eldon Vail quits

OLYMPIA — Secretary of Corrections Eldon Vail quit this afternoon citing “personal reasons.” Gov. Chris Gregoire who reportedly learned about his decision just today, quickly named a temporary replacement.

A brief statement from the Department of Corrections said his resignation was “effective immediately” but didn't give further information about his reasons for leaving. A call to the department was referred to a spokesman who did not immediately return the call.

A spokeswoman for Gregoire said she had no additional information about Vail's reason for resigning. Asked if Gregoire was surprised by the announcement, she replied “it's fair to say she learned about it today.”

Gregoire named Prisons Director Bernie Warner as Vail's interim replacement about 20 minutes after Vail's announcement. Warner played a key role in the prison system's expansion in the 1990s, she said, leading the siting process for Airway Heights Corrections Center and two other facilites. He has worked in California, Arizona and Florida and returned last October to serve as the department's prisons director.

Special Session Day 3: Early release a bad idea, prison officials say

OLYMPIA – A legislative proposal to release some inmates a few months early as a budget-saving measure is a bad idea, prison officials warned Thursday.
The state already ordered early release for many non-violent, low-risk inmates in previous years as a way to help balance other budgets. Those still behind bars are some of the highest risk prisoners who were convicted of violent or sexual crimes, suffer from mental illness or have a high possibility of committing new crimes, Corrections Director Eldon Vail said.
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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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