- The Washington Times - Monday, July 10, 2000

District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton blocked the presidential nomination of the man responsible for strict oversight of parolees in the District because she felt snubbed politically and he wasn't properly deferential, criminal justice sources said.

John "Jay" Carver III has been chief of the D.C. Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency since 1997, when Congress created the post to fix the city's poorly run parole, probation and pretrial services department.

But Mr. Carter's name is not on the list of nominees to head the agency that Mrs. Norton will send the president. The agency becomes an official federal office on Aug. 5.

Mr. Carver who refused to comment on being slighted is expected to announce his resignation today, then leave town on vacation.

Prior to Mr. Carver's appointment, murder, rape and violent robbery had been committed by unsupervised parolees and convicted felons who simply walked away from unguarded halfway houses.

Mr. Carver was expected to be nominated by President Clinton to a six-year term as director of the agency on Aug. 5, but Mrs. Norton told the White House and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno that he would not be nominated.

Although the matter is up to the president, local congressional members are given the political courtesy of deciding who should be considered.

Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. met with Mrs. Norton to try to change her mind and put Mr. Carver's name on the list, but he was told "it would be a cold day in hell" before she would, sources familiar with the meeting told The Washington Times.

"It is a great loss for the city to lose Jay. Eleanor let her personal feelings take over," said a high-ranking criminal justice official.

"The thing that is most distressing is whether the agency can continue to function as well without him, since we are not sure if some of the relationships he has established [with other agencies] will continue," said another senior official.

The divide between Mrs. Norton and Mr. Carver began when Miss Reno appointed Mr. Carver as the District's parole and probation boss without first conferring with Mrs. Norton.

Things became even chillier when Mr. Carver became a larger and larger figure on the Hill, lobbying members of Congress for money and support.

Hill staffers and city sources said Mrs. Norton expects all city officials to grovel before her, which Mr. Carver refused to do.

Mrs. Norton, a Democrat, refused to comment on that characterization of her political style.

Mr. Carver rebuilt the floundering parole, probation, public defenders office and pretrial service units generally known as the city's court services agency by imposing stricter supervision of paroled felons and drug abusers. He also was able to find other sources of money from Congress for new drug and probation programs.

Sources familiar with the rift between Mr. Carver and Mrs. Norton say it began when he ignored her instructions not to get involved in a move to make his agency's employees federal, not District, workers.

The Justice Department ruled they could be federal employees, but the Office of Personnel Management said Congress would have to amend the law to make the employees federal workers.

Mrs. Norton told Mr. Carver not to drum up support to amend the law, but Mr. Carver lobbied Congress anyway, said a source familiar with the dispute.

The source said Mrs. Norton picked a pointless fight because the employees automatically become federal workers once the agency is federalized.

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