Two state employees have retired, rather than be fired. Two others have been suspended for their part in the prison sentencing scandal.
State Corrections Director Mike Kenney announced his disciplinary action against those responsible for miscalculating prison sentences for nearly 600 inmates this afternoon during a news conference in the governor’s office.
“In response to the sentencing miscalculations, disciplinary hearings have been held for four employees,” Kenney stated. “The General Counsel George Green and Associate Legal Counsel Sharon Lindgren chose to retire, pending discipline. My decision in both of these cases would have been termination.”
In addition, Records Administrator Kyle Poppert has been suspended without pay for two weeks and Associate Legal Counsel Kathy Blum has been suspended for a day without pay.
All the employees are accused of failing to heed two state Supreme Court rulings on prison sentencing, leading to the miscalculations.
Gov. Dave Heineman largely blames Green and Lindgren for the mistake which led to the premature release of slightly more than 300 inmates from state prisons.
“There are two employees of the Department of Correctional Services that are the most responsible for these sentencing errors: The Chief Legal Counsel George Green and Associate Legal Counsel Sharon Lindgren,” according to Heineman. “When confronted with their charges of discipline and facing probable termination, both attorneys immediately retired from state government.”
Heineman told reporters during the news conference Green and Lindgren failed to inform Corrections to adjust prison sentences in accordance with two state Supreme Court rulings.
“Mr. Green and Miss Lindgren are no longer employed by the Department of Correctional Services and they shouldn’t be. Their actions were inappropriate, inexcusable, and irresponsible,” Heineman stated. “They were the individuals most responsible for the sentencing miscalculations and they are being held accountable for their actions.”
Heineman stated the investigation continues.
A Nebraska State Patrol criminal investigation also continues.
AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman and Corrections Director Mike Kenney hold news conference on sentencing miscalculations. [4:25]