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City commission upholds firing of former St. Louis jail official

Former St. Louis corrections commissioner Gene Stubblefield and his attorney at a 2011 hearing of the city's public safety committee
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio
A Tuesday hearing of the public safety committee was the first time suspended corrections commissioner Gene Stubblefield (L) answered questions about recent jail breaks. His attorney, Sherrie Schroder, is at right.

The St. Louis city Civil Service Commission has upheld the dismissal of former city corrections commissioner Gene Stubblefield.

"The Commission finds that the Appellant's [Stubblefield's] mismanagement, and lack of supervision, of the financial affairs of the Corrections Division ... is so serious as to warrant an exception to progressive discipline under Department of Personnel Administrative Regulation #117, and further, that dismissal is appropriate," the opinion reads. The three-member commission handed down the decision on Tuesday - it was made public on Friday.

Mayor Francis Slay put Stubblefield on forced leave in September 2011, after three jail breaks from city facilities within 11 months.  A fourth escape took place just after his dismissal.

Stubblefield's attorney, Sherrie Hall, says none of the charges brought in front of the commission dealt with the escapes. She says the the three-member commission agreed that Stubblefield should be dismissed because of record-keeping failures that led to a backlog of more than $600,000 in bills, and for failing to follow procedure when making an emergency expenditure to upgrade a computer system that controls most of the systems at the City Justice Center in downtown. He's also cited for failing to following personnel procedures.

Schroeder says Stubblefield will appeal the decision.

Public Safety director Eddie Roth released the following statement:

"We are pleased the Civil Service Commission upheld our actions. But we have not been standing still awaiting the commission's ruling.    We have moved aggressively over the past year to beef up security and improve the physical plants at both facilities, to add supervisory personnel and increase training for correctional staff, and to strengthen financial oversight of the entire operation.   We have received advice from St. Louis County Department of Justice Services and Missouri Department of Corrections during this period and are grateful for their assistance. Now we will begin the Civil Service process to appoint a permanent Commissioner of Corrections."

Roth replaced Charles Bryson in February. Bryson was the public safety director - Stubblefield's boss - when the escapes and the financial mismanagement occurred. In May, the city hired Dale Glass as the acting corrections commissioner. He will have to go trough the civil service process to get the job on a permanent basis.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.