- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2000

The Justice Department has recommended that the presidential appointment of director for the District of Columbia Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency be made by the next administration.

The delay of the appointment will allow a "cooling off" period since the controversy arose over the appointment of John A. "Jay" Carver III, the agency's trustee, as permanent director, said Kevin Ohlson, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and some Justice Department officials had attempted to scuttle the nomination of Mr. Carver, a respected veteran administrator in the city's criminal justice system who had been considered the top candidate.

"We decided to recommend to defer this until the next administration," Mr. Ohlson said. "There really has been so much turmoil surrounding this nomination there needs to be a cooling off period so everyone can see through clear lenses rather than emotional lenses. The feeling is that because this is a six-year term appointment, you ought to let the incoming administration decide."

Until an official appointment is made, Jasper Ormond, the agency's associate director of community justice programs, will serve as interim director, Mr. Ohlson said. Mr. Ohlson said that since Mr. Carver is away on vacation, it is uncertain what role he would play.

The Justice Department's attempt to sidestep the controversy over Mr. Carver, however, hasn't defused the situation on Capitol Hill, where Rep. Ernest Istook, Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on the District, has made it clear he wants Mr. Carver running the agency.

Mr. Istook has said he will approve a $24 million drug treatment appropriation for the agency only if Mr. Carver is in charge.

The agency, which provides pretrial services, parole and probation and public defender services for D.C. Superior Court, is to be converted to a federal agency on Aug. 5.

President Clinton was supposed to appoint a permanent director by then.

But the appointment became clouded on July 10 when The Washington Times reported Mrs. Norton would block Mr. Carver's nomination. Mrs. Norton denied she had anything to do with scuttling Mr. Carver's nomination.

Criminal justice and congressional sources familiar with the appointment said Mrs. Norton was upset with Mr. Carver because she felt he was not deferential to her.

Mrs. Norton, a Democrat and the District's nonvoting member of Congress, has nothing to do with the nomination process but as the District's only member of Congress, she can block it. Because of the outcry by judges and other members of the criminal justice system, Mrs. Norton has decided not to oppose Mr. Carver.

Mr. Carver has been trustee of the agency since 1997, when the three D.C. agencies were put under the federal government as part of the city's revitalization act. Most members of the local criminal justice community expected Mr. Carver's recommendation would sail through with little opposition.

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