Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Commissioner Goord demotes Five Points superintendent

"I today demoted Thomas A. Eisenschmidt from his position as Superintendent of the Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, for conduct that I found repugnant and insulting to the employees of this Department and to all New Yorkers as well," Commissioner Glenn S. Goord said while issuing the following statement.

"Eisenschmidt admitted to me that, on Monday, he posted in the facility a memo he wrote addressed to 'COward.' It was intended for an unnamed employee or employees whom Eisenschmidt believes responsible for circulating fabricated facility newsletters critical of him. Eisenschmidt's single-page memo, among other things, uses inappropriate language, challenges the employee to a fistfight in the facility parking lot and threatens to file against the officer false charges alleging the beating of an inmate.

"I will not tolerate such conduct by any employee, let alone one in a position with responsibility for the operations of a 1,500-bed maximum-security prison and a workforce of more than 600 employees.

"As recently as August 7, I convened a meeting in Albany of all prison superintendents. I reaffirmed our commitment to professionalism and integrity. I directed each of them to continue to maintain the highest possible standards in administration of their facilities and in their dealings with employees and inmates.

"As public servants, it is our obligation to perform our duties in a professional and fair-minded manner. That standard was not met and failed it in a host of different ways. The memo was offensive on many levels. I learned of it last night and ordered him to report to my office this morning, at which time I demoted him from his position," Commissioner Goord said.

The Commissioner appointed William Lape, Five Points' First Deputy Superintendent, to serve as acting superintendent until he appoints a successor to Eisenschmidt.

At the same time, the Commissioner ordered the Department's Inspector General to investigate the source of the bogus facility newsletters to determine whether any action against its author(s) is appropriate.

Under Civil Service Law, Eisenschmidt now has the option of exercising his right to return to his Civil Service item as a Captain, for which the pay range is $53,589-$67,919. If he exercises that option, the Commissioner will then decide the level of further disciplinary action that may be brought against him for his misconduct.

Eisenschmidt, 50, joined the Department in 1973. As Superintendent, he was paid $120,631 annually. In his most recent previous positions, he had served as Superintendent of the Gouverneur and then the Willard facilities before coming to Five Points as its first superintendent when it opened last year.