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New Secretary Bernie Warner reshuffles leadership of Corrections Department

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Sep. 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm with No Comments »
September 19, 2011 12:31 pm

Corrections Secretary Bernie Warner has reorganized the top jobs in his agency, and promoted Dan Pacholke to prisons director.

Warner briefly served as prisons director before Gov. Chris Gregoire tapped him this summer to replace Eldon Vail, who had been forced out by an interoffice affair.

Vail isn’t the only recent departure. He was followed out the door by two assistant secretaries, Scott Blonien and Cheryl Strange.

In a Thursday letter to staff, Warner said he had promoted Pacholke, the deputy director of prisons, to the top job. He previously led Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen and Cedar Creek in Thurston County. Warner said:

Dan has shown great leadership in his work to implement safety initiatives in prisons through changes in policy, practice, technology, and training. He is a veteran of the Washington State correctional system, having worked in five prisons throughout the state. I am glad to have Dan in this leadership role.

Warner announced several interim appointments, including Susan Lucas to replace Strange as assistant secretary of health services;  Sandy Mullins to take over Blonien’s role in charge of policy support; Alan Haskins as budget director, Steve Sinclair to share the deputy prisons director duties with Earl Wright, and Don Holbrook as superintendent of the Washington State Penintentiary in Walla Walla.

And he gave a bit more information about the reassignment of Belinda Stewart, which he announced Sept. 9 without giving details. Stewart was transferred from her job as communications director pending the results of an investigation into her management of nonprofit groups on state time. He wrote Thursday:

Belinda Stewart, with many years of experience in Prisons, will be assigned to special initiatives as designated by the Prisons Director.

Olympian reporter Brad Shannon asked him for more details last week but Warner wouldn’t say what rank Stewart would have or where she would work. Warner said she would be in the prisons division (although his organizational chart places the “special initiatives” job in the policy support area under Mullins.)

Warner named Chad Lewis to take over as communications director for Stewart.

Here’s the org chart:

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