FYI: Allen Clark's Resignation

"It is with great regret that I hereby resign my position," Allen Clark wrote in his Aug. 30 letter of resignation to Corrections Secretary James V. Crosby Jr. He also wrote that he had learned a lot from Crosby and attributed much of his career success to Crosby's guidance.  I'll bet.  Kay Lee

Senior prisons administrator to quit

Sun staff writer

September 14. 2005 6:01AM

State prison officials are not saying anything about why a top administrator who was on a fast track in the Department of Corrections quit his job.

"It is with great regret that I hereby resign my position," Allen Clark wrote in his Aug. 30 letter of resignation to Corrections Secretary James V. Crosby Jr. He also wrote that he had learned a lot from Crosby and attributed much of his career success to Crosby's guidance.

Clark was personally mentored by Crosby in his 15-year rise from correctional officer to regional director. Crosby declined to comment on Clark's resignation and Clark did not return calls to his home seeking an explanation.

Asking not to be identified, federal and state investigators confirmed that an investigation is under way into the actions of some prison employees and that Clark's name has come up in an investigation. The sources said the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement are involved in the investigation but would not say what activities are being scrutinized, whether they may have happened on or off the job or who was being targeted by the investigation.

Clark, 40, has been on paid leave from his $94,390-a-year job since turning in his resignation. He is expected to continue using his accrued leave until his resignation takes effect Oct. 14, four days after he has promised prison officials he will vacate his state-owned home in Sneads.

Clark held the regional director's job for a little over a year. In the position, he was responsible for all state prisons in the Panhandle - from Jefferson County west to the state line - which house about 24,000 inmates, roughly a third of all state inmates.

Department spokeswoman Debra Buchanan said Tuesday that Al Solomon, warden of Apalachee Correctional Institution, is serving as acting regional director. The prison is close to Sneads, where the regional office is located.

Clark has had his share of ups and downs while working in the prison system, according to his personnel file and court records.

After serving as a military police officer in the Marine Corps, Clark was hired as a correctional officer at Lancaster Correctional Institution in Trenton in December 1988. Two years later he voluntarily transferred to Cross City Correctional Institution, where Crosby had been appointed warden, to stabilize the prison following a riot there in 1989.

Shortly after the transfer and while off-duty, Clark went back to Lancaster and got into an argument with an off-duty Lancaster officer outside the officers' housing unit. The argument turned into a fist-fight. Both officers filed battery complaints against each other, but dropped their charges the day before they were due in court.

Six months later, Clark got his first Crosby-approved promotion to sergeant at Cross City.

By 1993, Clark had been reassigned to New River Correctional Institution and less than 18 months later was promoted to lieutenant, another promotion approved by Crosby, who had been appointed warden at New River.

Shortly after becoming a lieutenant in August 1994, Clark was suspended by prison officials for 60 days for using inappropriate force to quell an inmate disturbance. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a letter of guidance to Clark for the same incident and recommended additional training or counseling to learn to avoid similar situations.

Clark received a letter of gratitude from his regional director in 1995 for willingness to work on Hurricane Opal relief efforts.

In March 1997, Clark was issued a counseling memorandum by prison officials cautioning him not to discuss union issues on the job.

He was promoted to captain in June.

During 1998, Clark was commended by his superintendent for helping to put on a Christmas party for children and issued a letter of appreciation from his superintendent for his participation in capturing an escapee from a work squad.

Clark was moved back to Lancaster in 1999 when his regional director, George Denman, filed disciplinary charges against Clark for multiple offenses in the previous two years.

Clark was charged with moving a kitchen unit from Florida State Prison and having it installed in his staff residence, then lying about his involvement as well as making renovations to his staff residence using inmate labor and prison materials without required permission. He was also charged with cutting the lock off a ballot box at a prison employees' club with a bolt cutter that had not been properly signed out of the prison. And, Clark was charged with spending employee club funds negligently because check requests, authorization forms and receipts were not submitted as required.

According to Clark's personnel file, the 1999 case ended following a January 2000 meeting in a warden's office. The written conclusion by Denman was: "After full consideration of your oral and written responses, a decision has been reached. No further action will be taken on the disciplinary charges that were brought against you."

In April 2000, Clark transferred from Lancaster to Florida State Prison and promoted to major by Crosby, who was then warden at the prison. A year later Clark was promoted to colonel.

Three weeks after Crosby was named department secretary, Clark was promoted to assistant warden at Florida State Prison. Five months after Crosby became secretary of the prison system, Clark was promoted to Warden at New River Correctional Institution.

A year later, in June 2004, Crosby signed the paperwork naming Clark regional director for Region 1.

Karen Voyles can be reached at (352) 486-5058 or