- Associated Press - Sunday, August 6, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii Department of Public Safety has temporarily reassigned the longtime administrator of the parole system pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Paroles and Pardons Administrator Tommy Johnson, who formerly served as deputy director of the Department of Public Safety for corrections, was reassigned on March 6, Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said. A spokeswoman for the department declined to provide additional information about the investigation.

Earlier this year Johnson was reassigned temporarily at the request of Hawaii Paroling Authority Chairman Edmund “Fred” Hyun, Espinda said. “It’s a management and employee matter, and we hope to resolve that quickly,” he said.

Espinda said the investigation is being handled by the department’s Internal Affairs unit, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://bit.ly/2hzmolZ ) reported Sunday.

Johnson is being paid his full salary while he is temporarily assigned to the department’s Training and Staff Development office, a spokeswoman for the department said. That office is responsible for training new correctional officers and deputy sheriff recruits.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the Star-Advertiser reported that friction between Johnson and Hyun arose at least partly because of questions about Johnson’s use of overtime. In response to a request from the newspaper, Public Safety officials disclosed that Johnson worked more than 1,100 hours of overtime in the five fiscal years from July 2011 to June 2016.

That works out to the equivalent of about an extra eight weeks of regular pay per year for each of the five years. But the spokeswoman declined to say how much money Johnson received for overtime during that period.

Johnson received no overtime in the fiscal year that ended June 30, which was the year Hyun took over as chairman, according to Public Safety officials.

In a telephone interview last week, Johnson said his temporary reassignment was not because of overtime. “I can tell you this. I haven’t worked overtime in years, and I’ve never put in for overtime in years, so the issues that are going on have nothing to do with overtime, and I can assure you of that,” he said.

After learning public safety officials had already disclosed he was paid for more than 1,100 hours of overtime over five years, Johnson said the overtime was properly authorized.

“I can tell you this, the issue that I have has nothing to do with overtime - nothing whatsoever to do with it,” he said. “I can tell you this, I have done nothing wrong, and I think in the end the truth will bear itself out,” he said.

Hyun did not respond to a telephone message left with the paroling authority by the Star-Advertiser.

Andrew Morgan is now serving as acting administrator for the Hawaii Paroling Authority, a public safety spokeswoman said.

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