NYC Department of Correction
maintained by the
NY Correction History Society
in the archives at the
NYC Correction Academy.
The Summer 1990 Issue of Correction News
Below is the text from the issue's article about Allyn R. Sielaff becoming DOC Commissioner.
The article appeared on the front page accompanied by a photo of the March 5 appointment announcement in the City Hall Blue Room.
On Page 2 of the issue appeared his first NYC DOC "Commissioner's Report" newsletter column. It is reproduced below.
The diagonal headline in the right "ear" of the top-of-the-page Correction News nameplate proclaimed the newletter was a "New Appointments Special" issue.
The issue carried photos and brief bios of DOC's newly-named top uniformed and civilian management executives.
Other photos and stories related to Capt. Peter Meringolo being presented with a public service award for his action quelling a disturbance at AMKC, Investigation & Discipline Unit being honored for capturing a Rikers escapee, the Pipe Band taking 2nd Place Honors in St. Patrick's Day parade, and the passing of 33-year veteran CO Edward Weldon.
Sielaff Appoints Key Staff
Mayor David N. Dinkins announced the appointment of Allyn R. Sielaff as commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction on March 5 after an intensive, nation-wide search.
Mayor Dinkins said, "Allyn R. Sielaff takes on a challenging job managing a department growing faster than any other in our government. He will direct a staff of 12,000 employees with a budget of $765 million.
"He takes charge of our correction system at a time when the scourge of drugs has challenged the capacity of our legal and judicial system.
"To reduce the pressure on our courts and jails will require imaginative programs to divert those convicted of crime into community based services. These are just the kinds of programs which Commissioner Sielaff has had great success in his previous positions."
Commissioner Sielaff assumed the top correction post March 12, moving to New York from Cleveland. During the last 22 years, Commissioner Sielaff has headed four state correction systems, a court system and practiced law.
From 1982 to 1986 he headed the Department of Correction for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Prior to that he spent two years as deputy secretary for Transportation and Public Safety in Virginia.
From 1968 to 1979, Commissioner Sielaff headed correction departments for the states of Wisconsin, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
Commissioner Sielaff received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Case Western Reserve University. He received a Juris Doctorate degree from Cleveland State University.
He and his wife, Marianne, a registered nurse, have two adult sons, Terry and Timothy.
Since assuming his post Commissioner Sielaff has developed a 15-point alternative to incarceration plan that is nearing the implementation stage. The plan will be implemented by Assistant Commissioner Rosemarie Bonacum.
He has established a task force, headed by Deputy Warden Michael Pastena, on violence reduction which will study the issue of violence and make recommendations to him on ways to reduce the level of violence in the city's 15 jails.
He has established a panel of uniformed and civilian managers chaired by Division Chief Joseph Bussetti which will standardize procedures in evaluating uniformed employees for promotion to the managerial ranks of assistant deputy warden and above.
Commissioner Sielaff is also improving Rikers Island security and overhauling the employee disciplinary system.
Since assuming the post as Commissioner on March 12, 1 have visited all 15 facilities and have personally met as many of you as I could.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, the men and women who make up this expansive correction system, for your support and enthusiasm. I am very impressed by the professionalism of both the uniformed and civilian workforce.
I think all of you have done a remarkable job in managing an inmate population that has doubled in the past five years. This is the fifth correction system I have managed during more than 30 years in criminal justice. I fully appreciate the complexity and the unique features of the jail system in the world's largest city where 130,000 individuals are admitted in a single year.
My appointment, however, signals a new direction. That direction entails meeting our commitment to public safety in a more productive, rational and cost effective manner.
One of my mandates is to develop and implement alternatives to incarceration and detention for eligible offenders. These alternative sanctions will provide more effective, specialized program options for inmates; program options that are connected to the community where the inmates will ultimately return.
Without compromising public safety, these programs will reduce population, reduce recidivism, and reduce costs. These measures are greatly needed to retard the growth of this burgeoning system. I will discuss the details of these measures with you as time goes on.
Another mandate is to drastically reduce the level of overtime spending in this agency. In line with that, I am committed to reducing overtime from $116 million in 1990 to $44 million in 1991. Collectively, we will achieve this $72 million dollar reduction and change our status as the city's largest user of overtime to its most cost effective agency.
I have taken numerous steps to reduce overtime including hiring more officers, filling vacancies, reducing the uniform absence rate and directing facilities to increase their target for the placement of limited duty staff.
I fully appreciate the fact that working on the front-line in a correction system, as correction officers do, is a stressful job. Reducing overtime will allow you more time to spend with your families and allow you more time to improve the quality of your personal lives.
In future articles, I will cover other issues of interest and importance to you.
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