Nine top positions within the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections were assigned new leaders Wednesday, the agency's secretary Jimmy LeBlanc announced.
The changes come after several top corrections officials resigned in recent months following investigations of alleged misconduct, including former Angola warden Burl Cain in January and his son, former Avoyelles Correctional Center warden Nate Cain. But not all the changes are related to those resignations.
Malcolm Myer was named deputy secretary of the corrections department, replacing Genie Powers, who retired. Myer worked as state director for U.S. Senator John Breaux and has over 25 years of experience in public service, including serving five Louisiana governors, according to a news release.
Darrel S. Vannoy, who'd served as interim warden at Angola after Burl Cain announced in December he would step down, was formally installed as warden of Louisiana's largest and most notorious lockup, LeBlanc said in the release Wednesday. Vannoy, of Morrow, has served the corrections department since 1975, when he joined as a cadet. Prior to his current position at Angola, Vannoy was acting warden of the Dixon Correctional Institute.
Months before Wednesday's announcement, Vannoy's name had been painted over Burl Cain's on several signs throughout the prison. LeBlanc's name also replaced Burl Cain's at the front entrance to the Angola penitentiary.
Some officials were bumped from prison to prison: the Hunt warden to the Rayburn prison and the Rayburn warden to the Avoyelles lockup.
Taking over for Nate Cain, who resigned in May amid probes into credit card use and a prison rape investigation, is W.S. "Sandy" McCain, who is leaving his position as warden of Rayburn Correctional Center in Angie. McCain, a graduate of Northwestern State University, joined the corrections department in 1996.
Robert Tanner will replace McCain as Rayburn Correctional Center warden. Tanner, who started at the corrections agency in 1980, most recently served as warden of Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel. Before that, he served at Phelps Correctional Center in Dequincy.
And Tim Hooper, who was the deputy warden at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, will take over as warden of that prison. Hooper started as a cadet in corrections in 1984.
Replacing Vannoy at Dixon Correctional Institute, Jason Kent will be warden of that prison. He'd previously served as deputy warden there, having started at the corrections department in 1991.
Curtis "Pete" Fremin was appointed as the director of Probation and Parole. Fremin had been detailed to that role, which was a civil service position, but has now been formally installed in the job as an at-will employee.
Natalie LaBorde, who had been serving for a few months in a communications role after the departure of longtime public information officer Pam Laborde was appointed to deputy assistant secretary of the corrections department overseeing policy. LaBorde, an attorney, has a background in criminal justice policy and served in the governor's office during Bobby Jindal's administration.
The new public information officer will be Ken Pastorick, a former journalist who worked in media relations for the state Department of Health and Hospitals and the Department of Education. Pastorick, a crisis and emergency risk communications expert and trainer, helped the state during several crises including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, several hurricanes, the H1N1 flu pandemic, and other events, according to the release.