JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Gov. Linda Lingle laughed yesterday at a news conference with Clayton Frank, her choice for the new interim director of the Department of Public Safety. CLICK FOR LARGE
Lingle picks prison veteran for job
The governor expresses frustration with the rejection of her previous nominee
Gov. Linda Lingle has nominated a 26-year veteran of the prison system, Clayton Frank, as the new interim director of the Department of Public Safety.
In making her announcement yesterday, Lingle noted that Frank had been involved in a discrimination case that resulted in the state paying damages.
"We take this case seriously, but after weighing all the information, we still believe Clayton Frank is the right person for the job," Lingle said.
In 2001 a Circuit Court jury awarded $4.1 million to four women working for the department who accused then-Director George Iranon and other supervisors of discriminating against them based on their gender.
Filing suit against the state in 1997 were Faith Evans, Hawaii's first female U.S. marshal before she joined public safety; Sydney Zalopany, supervisor of internal affairs; Wendy Elkins, a narcotics enforcement investigator; and Dr. Kim Thorburn, hired in 1987 to bring the state's prisons into compliance with a federal consent decree. Also named as defendants were Iranon, Frank, Keith Kamita, Ed Howard, Rudy Alivado, Guy Hall and Eric Penarosa.
Hall and Penarosa were dropped from the suit, but a jury found that Iranon and Frank had unlawfully discriminated and retaliated against Zalopany and that Howard and Kamita had discriminated against Elkins, both on the basis of gender.
Lingle said Frank had not initially applied for the position, but had been encouraged by Sen. Will Espero, chairman of the Senate Public Safety Committee, which rejected Lingle's first nominee for the job, Iwalani White.
Lingle said she was having a difficult time finding another nominee after that.
"I think the Senate has to take responsibility along with myself for the lack of consistent leadership in the department," Lingle said.
The Republican governor, who saw the Democratic-controlled Senate also reject her nominee for the state Land Department, said she has given up trying to figure out the Senate.
"You hope for the best and expect the worst," she said yesterday. "They looked for a reasons to reject my nominees."
Espero said he had not heard anything negative about Frank.
"His experience will be a big plus," Espero said.
Frank has served as warden and administrator for the Halawa Correction Facility and Oahu Community Correctional Facility, and acting warden and administrator for the Waiawa Correctional Facility.
He has also served as administrator of the public safety Institutions Division, overseeing the operation of the state's correctional facilities.