Prisons, public safety directors to retire | NevadaAppeal.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Prisons, public safety directors to retire

Two major department heads with the Gibbons administration are retiring.

“It’s time,” said Director of Corrections Howard Skolnik, a veteran of 45 years in corrections.

Public Safety Director Jerry Hafen, who was named director in February 2008 replacing Phil Galeoto, made a similar comment, saying it’s time to end his law enforcement career. He has been in law enforcement since 1975.

Skolnik, 66, was already a veteran in prisons when he arrived in Nevada in 1987 to create the state’s prison industries program. He had already worked 22 years in Ohio and Illinois before taking the Nevada job.

He was named director in February 2007, replacing Glen Whorton, who acted as interim director during the transition between Gov. Kenny Guinn and Gibbons.

Asked what he planned to do after leaving the director’s office at the end of the year, he said he doesn’t know yet.

“I’ve got to clean the pool and the garage before I do anything,” he said.

Like Whorton before him, Skolnik had an often-rocky relationship with members of the Legislature. But working with those legislators on a special committee headed by then-Assemblyman David Parks, D-Las Vegas, and a commission on the administration of justice chaired by Supreme Court Justice Jim Hardesty, they revamped sentencing, good time credit and other laws to free up numerous prison beds. Those efforts made construction of a new prison unnecessary in the 2007 and 2009 sessions. Among the changes recommended by Skolnik were pardoning several hundred illegal immigrants in the prison system, turning them over to federal immigration authorities for deportation, and authorizing the early release of numerous non-violent offenders.

Hafen’s has had a diverse career including time as a patrol officer, an investigator for the Taxicab Authority, a gaming enforcement agent and senior investigator for the Department of Motor Vehicles. For five years, he supervised the Nevada Division of Investigations narcotics and major crimes units at public safety.

“I’ve got to clean the pool and the garage before I do anything,” he said.

Like Whorton before him, Skolnik had an often-rocky relationship with members of the Legislature. But working with those legislators on a special committee headed by then-Assemblyman David Parks, D-Las Vegas, and a commission on the administration of justice chaired by Supreme Court Justice Jim Hardesty, they revamped sentencing, good time credit and other laws to free up numerous prison beds. Those efforts made construction of a new prison unnecessary in the 2007 and 2009 sessions. Among the changes recommended by Skolnik were pardoning several hundred illegal immigrants in the prison system, turning them over to federal immigration authorities for deportation, and authorizing the early release of numerous non-violent offenders.

Hafen’s has had a diverse career including time as a patrol officer, an investigator for the Taxicab Authority, a gaming enforcement agent and senior investigator for the Department of Motor Vehicles. For five years, he supervised the Nevada Division of Investigations narcotics and major crimes units at public safety.