LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Timesheets obtained by the 8 News Now Investigators reveal a warden, who the Nevada Department of Corrections previously said resigned, continues to get paid.
An NDOC spokesperson said in July that William Hutchings, the warden of Southern Desert Correctional Center, voluntarily resigned for personal reasons with a final date of employment of July 15.
However, after the 8 News Now Investigators reached out to the department again several months later asking whether Hutchings was still getting paid, a spokesperson said that Hutchings would be employed until Nov. 11.
Following the publication of this report, an NDOC spokesperson said they “received some clarification” and that Hutchings was actually on paid administrative leave.
“This guy gets to resign and still collect a six-figure salary,” Paul Lunkwitz, president of the Fraternal Order of Police NV CO Lodge 21, said. The union represents correctional officers inside Nevada prisons.
Hutchings was the warden at Southern Desert Correctional Center, a medium-security prison, when a riot took place at the facility in December. The department tried to downplay the incident, first calling it a “disturbance.” In April, the 8 News Now Investigators uncovered how inmates took over a unit in the prison.
Two months after the 8 News Now Investigators’ report on the riot, an NDOC spokesperson said Hutchings resigned for personal reasons. He earned a salary of $127,660, according to the department.
Timesheets through mid-September, approved by the now acting director, William Gittere, show 40-hour work weeks for Hutchings.
The 8 News Now Investigators repeatedly reached out to NDOC, which refused to confirm whether Hutchings was still getting paid.
On Monday, a spokesperson wrote in an email, “Mr. Hutchings is currently an employee of NDOC, and will be so employed until November 11, 2022.”
Last Friday, Charles Daniels resigned from his position as NDOC director at the request of Gov. Steve Sisolak. Earlier that week, a convicted murderer escaped from Southern Desert Correctional Center. The escape was not discovered until four days later. A manhunt led by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department resulted in the inmate’s capture.
The escape is one of the latest failures at NDOC, first exposed by the 8 News Now Investigators.
Lunkwitz said that he believes that the department’s actions surrounding the resignation of Hutchings and the timesheets should be investigated.
“What was said behind closed doors that would allow something like this to happen and what is the department thinking saying nonchalantly, ‘oh, he’s still employed until this date?'” Lunkwitz said. “How badly does that reflect on our leadership of our department?”
In an internal memo from Gittere to staff on Sept. 30, Gittere acknowledged that a change in senior leadership causes uncertainty. He also wrote, “We must march on and continue to focus on the basics by exhibiting what right looks like.”