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It was first reported that Allen Clark had hired a second elder brother named Allen. I just got a note in that the young Allen Clark is not Allen Clark's brother but rather his son, either Allen Lance or Lance Allen.  This is a nice kid who was hired by his father fresh out of high school making $17 an hour.  That's more than officers make after 5 or 6 years.  Heck, there are 12 year officers who are not making that much.  This is nothing against the kid.  If I was offered a job like that, I'd be tempted to take it too.  But his father knows better and should be held fully accountable for rampant nepotism. Kay Lee

"Oh you would not believe it Clark has been on the front page B section of the paper every day for the past three days and has a full page write up on the 2nd page they have his kid as described in the paper Lance Clark was hired a few weeks after he graduated from high school this spring. He is paid $26,841.00 a year as general services specialist at the state prison. a job description provided by the prison system described the duties of the $12.90 an hour position as spending 65% of the time overseeing and maintaining daily operations of the mailroom, canteens and laundry that would include tasks like the receipt, distribution and storage of commodities for the canteens and distribution of all prison mail... the other 35% of the day is spent is supervising and handing inmate requests and grievances for inmates assigned to work in receiving and shipping in the canteen and the laundry room."

Hiring of ex-DOC official's son comes under scrutiny

Sun staff writer

October 13. 2005 6:01AM

The state Department of Corrections is taking another look at a decision to hire the son of a former top official.

Lance Clark is employed at Apalachee Correctional Institution and is the son of Allen Clark, whose resignation as one of Florida's four regional prison directors takes effect on Friday.

Allen Clark turned in his resignation in August during an ongoing and far-reaching investigation by federal and state investigators into the alleged use of steroids and misuse of money among prison employees.

Prison officials said Wednesday that the decision to hire Clark's teenage son for more than double the minimum wage is now being scrutinized. Another of Clark's close relatives was demoted earlier this year in what prison officials said was a clerical lapse that led to the man being hired without the minimum qualifications for the job.

Lance Clark was hired a few weeks after he graduated from high school this spring. He is paid $26,841 a year as a general services specialist at the state prison. A job description provided by the prison system described the duties of the $12.90-an-hour position as spending 65 percent of the time overseeing and maintaining daily operations of the mailroom, canteens and laundry. That would include tasks like the receipt, distribution and storage of commodities for the canteens, and distribution of all prison mail.

The other 35 percent of Clark's time on the job is to be spent supervising and handling inmate requests and grievances for the inmates assigned to work in receiving and shipping, the canteen and the laundry room.

Lance Clark was unwilling to explain why he was selected for the job over 33 other candidates, including six who were already working for the department when they applied.

"I don't appreciate you trying to mess up my career - trying to mess up my reputation," Clark told The Sun Wednesday morning when contacted at his job. "You ain't going to get anything off me. You all will probably be hearing from my lawyer."

Among the other candidates for the job were six current employees, including a correctional officer, two senior clerks, a teacher's aide and two personnel technicians, according to DOC documents.

Department spokesman Robby Cunningham said Lance Clark's hiring is under review.

"We are looking into that particular situation and what will happen there will depend on what we find in that review," Cunningham said Wednesday.

Other relatives
A situation reviewed earlier by the department resulted in another of Allen Clark's relatives being demoted.

Clark's younger brother, Rick Clark, 30, has not responded to requests to comment on his situation.

In March, Rick Clark quit his job as a Gilchrist County deputy to take a $37,166-a-year job as an inspector at Taylor Correctional Institution in Perry. Ten weeks later he was demoted to an entry-level, $27,888-a-year correctional officer job when it was revealed that he did not meet the minimum experience qualifications to be an inspector and was not even a certified correctional officer.

Department officials have claimed that Clark's hiring was a clerical error and denied there was any preferential treatment given to Rick Clark because he was Allen Clark's brother.

Another member of the Clark family on the prison payroll is Allen Clark's wife, Lori, who has worked in nonsecurity jobs and has consistently received positive performance reviews.

Department records show she was hired in December 1994 as a clerk typist, a job that paid just over $14,000 annually. She continued working in clerical positions through November 2001 with her pay increasing gradually to $22,338 a year.

In December 2001, she was promoted to staff assistant, which included a pay raise to $24,014. Lori Clark was promoted into an operations and management consultant job in April 2003 and her pay increased to $32,511. By January 2004, Lori Clark had been promoted again to operations and management consultant. Her most recent pay increase, on Aug. 1, was to $47,656, nearly doubling her salary in 3 years.

Lori Clark's current job is to coordinate the transportation of commodities grown on prison farms that can be shared with other prisons. For example, if one prison grows a bumper crop of watermelons, Lori Clark is responsible for seeing that they are distributed efficiently to other prisons and are not wasted.

Before Lori Clark's husband, Allen, resigned as Region 1 director, the Clarks lived in a state-owned home in Sneads and Lori Clark maintained an office at Apalachee Correctional Institution, which is also where Allen Clark's former office and other Region 1 offices are located.

Lori Clark could not be reached for comment. Department spokeswoman Debra Buchanan said Lori Clark is in the process of transferring her office this week to Mayo Correctional Institution, where office space was available.

Common practice
Having multiple members of a family working in the prisons system is not unusual, according to prison officials.

"In many areas statewide, prisons are in rural areas that are miles from any other industries, and the prisons may be the only professional job opportunity that offers growth potential," said department spokesman Robby Cunningham.

He said employers like the prison system who are looking for the most qualified candidates in any small community may find themselves considering family members or friends of current employees. Cunningham denied that cronyism is involved with hiring and promotion decisions.

"None has been brought to our attention," Cunningham said. "If there are specific instances we'll look into them and take appropriate actions."

Cunningham also said the department - unrelated to recent reports on questionable hiring and promotion practices - has recently "begun an initiative to review hiring processes department-wide to ensure we are able to attract and hire the most qualified candidates for all positions."

Sun Tallahassee Bureau reporter Joe Follick contributed to this report.

FDOC full of nepotism and favoritism.