Prisons Officials Demoted by Boss: Reassigns Finance Chief, 3 Deputies

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 17, 1999 | Go to article overview

Prisons Officials Demoted by Boss: Reassigns Finance Chief, 3 Deputies


The District's chief of corrections has dumped his three top deputies and chief financial officer, blaming them for the city prison budget's $26 million deficit.

Odie Washington, head of the D.C. Department of Corrections since April, removed Michelle Elzie, Adrienne Poteat and Mark Levitt Thursday, according to corrections spokesman Bill Meeks.

Miss Elzie was deputy director of management reform. Miss Poteat supervised the D.C. jail and the District's Lorton Correctional Complex as the deputy director of institutions. Mr. Levitt was deputy director for administration.

Mr. Washington plans to reassign Miss Poteat and Miss Elzie to jobs at District-run prisons, Mr. Meeks said. They have worked for the department for 25 years and are former prison wardens.

Mr. Washington plans to reassign Mr. Levitt to the Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining in the D.C. personnel department, Mr. Meeks said. Mr. Levitt began working for the corrections department in 1991.

All three of Mr. Washington's former deputies are on paid administrative leave until Aug. 2.

Mr. Washington dumped Stephanie Mitchell, the chief financial officer for corrections, yesterday. She will be reassigned within her own department.

The corrections department is trying stopgap measures this summer to avert a $26 million budget overrun while the District's overall finances continue running vast surpluses.

The city is expected to post a $225 million budget surplus on Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 1999. But the prison books are stained with red ink from rampant overtime and bills that go unpaid for months.

But budget is a small part of the problem, Mr. Washington said.

"I want to make it perfectly clear that this shake-up had more to do with the long-term systemic management problems that have plagued this agency for years, and very little to do with the current budget deficit," he said yesterday. …

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