After attorney and state legislator Max Williams was nominated last week by Gov. Kulongoski to be director of the Oregon Corrections Division, one observer in Umatilla County asked wryly whether Williams might be one of those lawyers who thinks he knows everything about a subject. We hope not.
Williams, a moderate Republican from the suburbs of Portland, seems to have a favorable reputation as a legislator. He has shown a strong and constructive interest in law enforcement issues. But regardless of that, Williams faces a huge, huge learning curve if members of the Oregon Senate confirm him in January. He has never worked in law enforcement or corrections at all. He is not familiar with prisons, staff management or inmate management. And he would be taking overall direction of a state system which has grown about as fast as any in the country.
We hope Max Williams is a fast learner and has a knack for identifying which staff assistants are ones to rely on.