LIMA — An Allen County prison warden has been reassigned for allegedly making a racially insensitive remark, a union official said.
John Coleman was removed Monday from his job as warden of the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution. He was reassigned to a position at the Adult Parole Authority office in Lima, said JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the state prison system.
“There were some communication issues between the warden and the staff at the facility that led to Mr. Coleman being placed on special assignment,” Smith said.
Smith declined to say if disciplinary action was attached to the reassignment.
Shawn Gruber, the president of the union that represents correctional officers at the prison, said Coleman made a racial remark.
“It was something to the effect he did better with people of his own race and not of color,” Gruber said.
The remarks by Coleman, who is white, upset many staff members. Some were really emotional over it, Gruber said.
Coleman’s name was removed from the prison website. Kevin Jones, previously a deputy warden at the prison, now is acting warden.
Gruber said he was surprised Coleman was reassigned and not fired.
“They have pretty much a no-tolerance on that type of stuff,” he said.
Gruber didn’t like the way Coleman ran the prison and wouldn’t listen to Gruber’s concerns.
“I always thought he forgot where he came from. He was a C-O,” Gruber said. “He could have been a better warden if he remembered what it was like being a C-O. It was his way or no way.”
Coleman became warden at the prison in October 2010. He was hired in 1991 as a correctional officer at Mansfield Correctional Institution and worked his way up the ranks, Smith said.