Bryson Demoted From Public Safety Director Post Days Before Correction Commish's Hearing

Bryson Demoted From Public Safety Director Post Days Before Correction Commish's Hearing
Charles Bryson
On Friday the mayor's office demoted Charles Bryson from his post as Public Safety Director and assigned him to his previous job, a neighborhood specialist for the administration. The move comes days before the civil service commission is to hold a hearing to examine whether Corrections Commissioner Gene Stubblefield was unfairly punished for what may have been Bryson's mistakes.

Bryson, if you recall, took much heat after the recent string of four jail breaks in 15 months. He suspended Corrections Commissioner Gene Stubblefield in September, but a stack of memos soon revealed that Stubblefield had for months warned Bryson that the jails were vulnerable because of staffing cuts. The correspondences indicate that Bryson ignored many of Stubblefield's suggestions-- such as filling long-vacant managerial positions and installing more security cameras.

In October, Bryson stumbled through a Board of Alderman investigative hearing, unable to explain his reasoning behind corrections employees working out of classification and certain mid-level staffing cuts.

Stubblefield's hearing was originally scheduled for Monday, but has since been postponed to Wednesady, confirmed Mayor Francis Slay's press secretary Kara Bowlin.

Eddie Roth, a former Post-Dispatch editorial writer who in August was hired onto Mayor Slay's administration as Chief Performance Officer, replaced Bryson. Roth's role involved helping the city's various law enforcement agencies streamline their information sharing methods.

Slay's office says the move had nothing to do with the jail break scandal and that the timing is coincidental.

"He and Charles were running parallel paths and our director of operations knew that Charles was doing a really good job with neighborhoods, that's one of his strengths," says Bowlin. "So instead of Eddie and Charles working on the same thing parallel, we decided to put Eddie up in the Public Safety department and Charles is going to come back and do neighborhoods. So it's really just playing to both of their strengths."

For more on St. Louis politics, boxing, hip-hop and miscellaneous social issues, follow @albertsamaha on Twitter.

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