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Corrections center chief put on leave

Tue., Aug. 28, 2007

Geiger Corrections Center’s director has been placed on paid administrative leave after a letter from one of the facility’s unions was delivered Monday to Spokane County officials.

Spokane County released this statement from county CEO Marshall Farnell: “This morning, Geiger Correction Center Director Leon Long was put on paid administrative leave pending review and resolution of allegations concerning his management practices.”

The letter informed Farnell of a labor union’s vote of no confidence for Long, questioned the director’s management practices and detailed the reasons why, said Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke. Mielke said he doesn’t know which union crafted the letter.

Geiger union contracts expire at the end of December, officials said.

“I know there have been some disagreements between Long and some of his employees,” Mielke said, including concerns about overtime and worries that workers weren’t being updated on the facility’s future.

“We take any accusations regarding our department heads very seriously, and we want to make sure we do our due diligence,” Mielke said.

Long was appointed director by Spokane County commissioners in January 2005 after serving as the interim director for five months.

Long, who has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Central Washington University, has worked for Spokane County since 2000. He was the Adams County Juvenile Court administrator for 10 years and served as that county’s public works director before coming to Spokane.

Reached at home Monday night, Long declined to comment on the investigation.

While some employees are upset with Long’s management, Mielke said the commissioners have been happy about his performance.

When the commissioner was sworn in, in November 2004, the county commissioners only had praise for Long.

“What I’d heard is he got high accolades for coming in and straightening out Geiger,” Mielke said.

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