Jackson County Executive accepts resignation of Department of Corrections Director
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. announced today that Joe Piccinini has resigned as Director of the Department of Corrections.
“I am grateful for Joe’s service to Jackson County and the Department of Corrections. He accepted responsibility of our operations in the midst of an ongoing FBI investigation, with staff making a starting wage 38% below the market rate and what we would later learn, a facility in need of $150 million in repairs,” White said. “But, at this point, Joe does not want to be a distraction because his priority is to fix the problem and ensure our corrections facility reaches the level of excellence our staff, inmates and community deserve. I respect his judgement and regretfully accept his resignation.”
Piccinini was appointed to serve as the director of corrections by former County Executive Mike Sanders in December 2015. Prior to that, he served as the Chief of Police for the Lee’s Summit Police Department, where he spent more than 30 years cultivating a career of public service by working up the departmental ranks.
Following the County Executive’s appointment, Mr. Piccinini stayed on and helped oversee significant improvements to the facility and operations of the Jackson County Detention Center. Improvements include significant infrastructure repairs, improved training for corrections officers and increasing corrections officers’ wages.
“I’ve been honored to serve Jackson County during a critical time of change for one of its most essential functions,” Piccinini said. “I commend the County Executive for his steadfast leadership to get things done. I couldn’t be more proud to work with men and women who have made great sacrifices in the name of progress for the betterment of our community.”
Effective immediately, Diana Turner will serve as the acting director of corrections. She became the deputy director two months ago, but has devoted her life to a career to public safety that has spanned the municipal, state and federal levels. She most recently served as Director of Residential Services for the Jackson County Family Court. During her tenure, the two juvenile detention facilities for which she was responsible achieved reaccreditation. Both are positioned to successfully pass an American Correctional Association (ACA) audit in 2018.
Captain Isaac Johnston will step in as the acting deputy director of corrections. His public safety career includes serving as the warden of two facilities, including the Leavenworth Detention Center, which houses maximum security inmates. The other was a Correctional Treatment Facility in Washington, D.C.
“Diana and Isaac, combined, have more than 50 years of experience in corrections,” White said. “Both work hard to form relationships with staff and inmates to establish a culture of respect. I have complete confidence in their ability to be effective leaders, while we conduct a nationwide search for a new director.”