Gregoire names Warner as new corrections chief

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Gregoire has named former state prisons director Bernie Warner as the new secretary of corrections.

Warner's official appointment on Thursday comes just a week after predecessor Eldon Vail abruptly resigned due to what he has acknowledged was an affair with a subordinate. Neither Gregoire nor Warner addressed that matter in formal letters Thursday.

Warner told his employees that he wants to hear their thoughts, concerns and ideas to make the Department of Corrections a stronger agency. He said he wants to continue to make the agency one that all the workers are proud of.

Warner worked in other states before getting hired as prisons director in Washington last year. He started his corrections career in 1980 as a counselor in the segregation unit at the Washington State Penitentiary.