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Metro Corrections FOP casts no confidence vote in jail director

Tuesday, corrections officers said they did not have confidence in Director Dwayne Clark's administration, after months of staffing shortages at the downtown jail.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Corrections' union members said Tuesday they have lost confidence in jail director Dwayne Clark's ability to lead.

FOP spokesperson Tracy Dotson said more than 220 corrections officers voted, with about 97% saying they no confidence in Clark.

Union leaders announced the vote last week amid what they are calling a critical staffing crisis. Around the same time, LMDC Major William Ashby was suspended and later called for Clark's removal after his own pre-termination hearing. 

Clark's position is appointed by the mayor. FOP President Daniel Johnson said they will turn to Fischer next if something is not done. 

"Next step is going to be showing up at the mayor's doorstep," he said. "Everywhere he goes publicly, every announcement he makes, every ribbon cutting ceremony there will be corrections officers there, stealing the show."

Since the summer, LMDC has been struggling through staffing shortages, with officers forced to work long over time hours. 

Officers have also complained of broken equipment, outdated technology and overcrowding. 

RELATED: Officials search for solutions as cases spike at Metro Corrections

Corrections Officer Michelle Sogan said Tuesday she does not know a single officer who still believes in Clark's administration. 

"As far as admin, how they're running the place and putting not only us in danger but inmates as well, we already face enough risks on a daily basis but when your own administration sets you up for failure it's even harder," she said. 

During the vote Tuesday,  FOP members answered a four question survey either in person or over the phone. They were asked if LMDC was a safe environment, if staffing was sufficient, if they had been looking for other jobs, and if they had confidence in Clark's administration.

Dotson said individual answers to those questions were between 96% and 99% "no" votes. 

RELATED: Department of Corrections paying double for overtime, seeing leadership shakeups

To combat staffing shortages, LMDC started offering hiring, retention and referral incentives, as well as double pay for overtime hours to bring more hands on deck.

Officer Katelyn Wilkinson said it will take long term change to bring in consistent staffing. 

"Working on increasing pay across the board. I know that's not something that will happen tomorrow but having some serious talks about giving us that pay raise and not increasing the overtime pay would help," she said.

Tuesday, Fischer said Clark is doing what he can with tough pandemic circumstances. He said corrections staffing shortages are plaguing facilities across the country, not just LMDC. 

In an emailed statement to WHAS11 Monday, LMDC assistant director Steve Durham wrote "Dwayne Clark has been a consummate Corrections professional for over 40 years. He has spent the last year running our corrections facility through a global pandemic and the worst staffing shortage in recent history. He will continue to better LMDC every day and will weather this storm."

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