Arbitrator finds warden’s firing unwarranted
Stillwater prison told it must rehire official who lost job over sexually graphic e-mails.
An arbitrator has reversed the firing a year ago of Stillwater prison’s warden for sending sexually graphic e-mails from his official account and other troubling behavior, but the state Department of Corrections said Thursday that it is weighing its options for how to respond.
Steve Hammer lost his job running one of the state’s largest prisons for what the department said was a violation of various policies. Prison officials haven’t provided further explanation, but a cache of documents obtained by the Star Tribune revealed that lewd e-mails, bullying and other improper behavior preceded his ouster.
Hammer challenged his firing, and corrections officials were notified Tuesday that the arbitrator “granted his grievance and awarded him reinstatement,” said department spokeswoman Sarah Fitzgerald. She said the department is choosing not to release a copy Warden Steve Hammer’s future at Stillwater prison remains under review.
of the ruling pending further review.
She declined to address when Hammer might return to duty, saying, “The department is currently reviewing the decision and next steps.” The prison’s website still lists Eddie Miles as warden.
Victor Wanchena, associate warden at Stillwater, said late Thursday morning that Miles’ status of warden has not yet changed.
As for Hammer’s future at Stillwater, Wanchena said, “I have no information on when he’ll return . ... I have no knowledge of what the terms are in [his] return.”
Hammer, who first joined the Minnesota prison system in 1991, could not be immediately reached for comment.
The documents from an investigation by the Depart-