The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Sewardite named to lead Spring Creek



Clare Sullivan, Superintendent, Spring Creek Correctional Center

The Alaska Department of Corrections on Feb. 28 named Sewardite Clare Sullivan as the new superintendent of Seward's Spring Creek Correctional Center.

The appointment of Sullivan from within the ranks of SCCC staff continues a precedent dating back to the promotion of Sewardite Craig Turnbull to the post in November 2001. The position had gone unfilled during a continuing controversy surrounding staffing directives from upper management that reportedly contributed to the retirement of Turnbull a year ago.

First opened in 1988, SCCC is the State of Alaska's only maximum security prison and can accommodate over 500 inmates. It typically employes around 130 correctional officers and over 70 other administrative and support staff. Soon after the July 2012 opening of Goose Creek Correctional Center near Wasilla, ADOC made changes in shift scheduling and transferred correctional officers there, resulting in a loss of over 30 correctional officers at SCCC.

Inmates were also transferred to GCCC, but SCCC has remained chronically understaffed since the restructuring over a year ago, according to Alaska Correctional Officer's Association business manager Brad Wilson. During the transition to so-called blending staffing, Turnbull retired and hiring stalled. However, sources say that a recent surge in recruitment and hiring is bringing correctional officer numbers closer to a full complement. Whether that is being accomplished with blended shifts still in place was not established at press time.

Sources also confirm that several candidates were vying for the superintendent position but that many at the facility are pleased to see Sullivan advance to the top job from her most recent position as a probation officer. During her career at SCCC, which began in 1996, Sullivan has worked in several professional positions including as a correctional officer in both classified and supervisory roles. She is the first woman named to a top management role at the facility.

According to a ADOC press release, Sullivan grew up in the New York City suburb of Rye, attended Fordham University and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in psychology and a minor in sociology. She was commissioned as U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant, Military Intelligence Branch in 1980 and participated with the Green Beret Sports Parachute Team while stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. including demonstration jumps. Sullivan also participated in operations supporting Operation Desert Storm.

In the community, Sullivan is familiar in many quarters as the post commander of Seward's American Legion Post 5, a position she has held for over five years. Together with her husband Mike, who manages the bar, she is responsible for overseeing the post and is a fixture at American Legion events in the community.


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