Recognizes Roger Werholtz for his service

Continuing her fight to improve public safety and rebuild the Kansas Department of Corrections, Governor Laura Kelly today announced her selection of Jefferey Zmuda as the next secretary of corrections. Zmuda is currently the deputy director of the Idaho Department of Correction.

“This is a critical time of change and recovery for the Kansas Department of Corrections,” Kelly said. “I’m pleased Jeff Zmuda has agreed to take on the important challenge of restoring our corrections system and improving morale across all facilities. He will continue our work to rebuild the agency while bringing new ideas and leadership to Kansas.”

Zmuda has a long record of success managing the Idaho Department of Correction and coordinating with stakeholders, including legislators, the judiciary, and other county and state partners. Previously, he served as the chief of prisons in Idaho. In this role, he oversaw all aspects of prison operations for nine state run facilities, including public safety initiatives, security protocols and practices, mental health care and treatment, education services, and reentry programs. Zmuda also has extensive experience addressing personnel and operations challenges across a correctional system.

“I’m honored to be selected by Governor Laura Kelly to lead the Kansas Department of Corrections,” Zmuda said. “I look forward to being on the ground and working with the dedicated men and women of the agency to address the needs and challenges facing Kansas facilities.”

The Governor also commended current Acting Secretary of Corrections Roger Werholtz for his commitment to the State of Kansas and his longtime public service. Werholtz has been instrumental during the transition and early months of the Kelly Administration, shining a light on the challenges the Department of Corrections faced during the last eight years and the desperate need for reforms. He has also been a critical advocate for a much-needed pay increase for corrections staff, specifically corrections officers in all facilities.

“I cannot say enough about the important role Secretary Werholtz has had in the transition and assessment of the department of corrections during the last six months” Kelly said. “He dug deep and shared the problems that had been concealed for eight years. Not only that, he presented a plan to address the many challenges we face. I thank Roger Werholtz for his impeccable service to the State of Kansas.”

Werholtz’s last day will be Friday, May 31. Chuck Simmons, the current deputy secretary for facilities management, will serve as the interim secretary beginning June 1 until Zmuda becomes the acting secretary on July 1.

“When Keven Pellant, Chuck Simmons and I returned to KDOC, we did so because of how much we cared about this agency and the people here with whom we had spent most of our careers,” said Werholtz. “We hope that we are leaving KDOC better than we found it and believe that under Jeff Zmuda’s leadership it can achieve the expectations we all have.”

The governor will chair her first Finance Council meeting on June 5, 2019. The Corrections budget will be discussed.

“This is a difficult time for many in the department of corrections, but I am committed to address the problems, provide strong leadership, and support for the officers who are working hard hours to keep all Kansans safe,” Kelly said. “I’m hopeful that the Finance Council will approve fair pay increases for the all corrections officers in all facilities who put their lives on the line every day.”