Search for new Corrections director nearing end

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A committee appointed by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert sifted through approximately 60 applications and identified 37 qualified individuals. The committee interviewed eight candidates this week. Nate McDonald, a spokesman for the governor, said, because the process was still underway, "we are not able to release any names."

The Salt Lake Tribune, however, has learned three of the eight finalists are: Kirk Torgensen, chief deputy attorney general and a former director of Adult Probation and Parole; Mike Haddon, acting director of the Utah Department of Corrections and a former deputy director; and, Steve Turley, division director of institutions for the Department of Corrections. They all declined to confirm the information or comment.

The committee will forward names of three candidates to Herbert, who hopes to make a selection in the next few weeks, McDonald said.

Members on the vetting committee were: Mike Mower, the governor's deputy for community outreach; Angie Welling, director of public relations at Love Communications, Herbert's former spokeswoman and pro tem member of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole; Corey J. Hodges, lead pastor at New Pilgrim Baptist Church and a weekly columnist for TheTribune's Faith section; Dale Miller, director of Correctional Services for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel; Ross Romero, an attorney and former Democrat state senator; Vaughan Howard, representing the Utah Fraternal Order of Police; Tom Bielen, former executive director of the Utah Public Employees Association, and Raymond Merrill, a physician's assistant for the Department of Corrections.

Haddon has served as acting director since January, after Herbert decided not to reappoint Tom Patterson as executive director.

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