Luzerne County Warden to Retire

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The warden of the Luzerne County jail is retiring. The surprise announcement was made Monday morning at a meeting.

Warden Gene Fischi said he would have stayed on at Luzerne County jail if given a five-year contract. The board decided against that Monday, so Fischi said he will take early retirement.

Fischi has been warden at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for about 13 and a half years.

He announced his retirement, saying he will step down around the end of the year.

Fischi has been head of the jail during some turbulent times. Most recently he was suspended for a week and put on probation for a year after county leaders realized some jail purchases were made illegally, without a bidding process.

The warden said he was just following orders.

Then there was the infamous Hugo Selenski escape in 2003. He tied bed sheets together to do it. At the time, some people called for Fischi to be fired

“No, I don’t believe should resign,” Fischi said at the time, “because we’ve taken every effort we can. We did everything we could and at this point in time it’s under investigation.”

After all the controversy, Selenski said he felt badly for jail leaders.

“I feel sorry for that jail.  It’s getting a lot of bad publicity and it’s not warranted. Now it’s getting ridiculous,” Selenski said in 2004.  Of his escape, Selenski said, They couldn’t prevent that!”

After the escape, Fischi promised to step up security.

A fence was added to the jail property and so were cameras as part of a jail surveillance system.

Fischi did not want to comment on his resignation.

The county will advertise for a new warden to fill Fischi’s position. Then it’s up to the prison board to choose a replacement.