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NEW HEAD OF PRISONS TO RESTORE ETHICS CODE


----- Original Message -----
From: Kay Lee
To: Sherry Swiney
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 12:45 PM
Subject: Re: FDOC RE: BRAD CARTER

Here's an article from the Gainesville Sun that gives me great hope. It's all I've ever asked for:
New head of prisons to restore ethics code
http://www.Gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006202190349
February 19. 2006 6:01AM
The Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE - Col. Jim McDonough has led troops into battle in the Balkans, and waged war on drugs for Florida and the nation.

Now McDonough, named just over a week ago to take over as secretary of the beleaguered Department of Corrections, has to restore confidence in a state prison system shaken by allegations of cronyism and illegal behavior at the top levels.

McDonough, who has been serving Gov. Jeb Bush as the state's director of drug control policy, said in an interview Saturday that his first job is to restore a code of ethics that includes "honesty in all things."

He said he thinks most of the people in the department already have such an ethic - but they have to be made to understand that it will be expected and rewarded.

"It's a department full of good people," McDonough said. "It's a professional group, and they know their business. They have a code of ethics and they want to do the right thing. I think I've got to allow that to come out."

"You reinforce this idea of professionalism. More than expect that, I insist on that," McDonough said.

McDonough, 59, was selected by Bush after the forced resignation of former secretary James Crosby. The department has been mired for months in allegations of wrongdoing.

At least two investigations are under way into the behavior of former top officials at the agency, which runs one of the largest prison systems in the nation.

Bush had backed Crosby even as another top system official was arrested and fired, but the governor abruptly asked for Crosby's resignation Feb. 10. Bush said it would be clear soon why Crosby had to step down, and with officials at the department saying a grand jury is thought to be looking into activities at the agency, some have said they expect there could be indictments.

A Bush spokesman has confirmed Crosby is a target of an unspecified investigation.

The problems at the agency are wide-ranging, from allegations of a steroid-selling ring involving prison guards to at least one person hired for a phantom job just to bolster a staff softball team. There was also a well-publicized brawl involving agency officials. It's not clear yet what, specifically, Crosby is accused of.

McDonough promised he was planning to go over the agency from a management standpoint from top to bottom, thoroughly examining contracts, budgets and practices.

He cautioned that investigations into the behaviors that led to Crosby's departure were continuing.

Saturday, McDonough said he has fired the warden of Gainesville Correctional Institution, Laynard Owens, for unspecified "lack of ethics and skill."

Owens, who has an unlisted phone number, couldn't be reached for comment.

McDonough said his most immediate task is to define his expectations to the people who work in the prison system.

He makes clear that people will succeed based on merit, not who their friends are in the agency.

"No favoritism," McDonough said. "It's got to be merit that counts."

McDonough, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, acknowledged that it would be better for him if he had experience working in a prison system, which he doesn't.

"But I do have experience in leadership," said McDonough.

He finished a nearly three decade Army career as commander of the Southern European Task Force Infantry Brigade, which put him in command of American forces in Bosnia and led to the mission in Rwanda. He has three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

McDonough also was director of strategy for the Office of National Drug Control Policy during the Clinton Administration before being appointed by Bush in 1999 to head the governor's drug control office. He's a published author, having written three books, including one, Platoon Leader, that was made into a movie.


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