The longtime executive director of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has announced he is retiring June 1.
The departure of Terry Jenks, 54, comes a time of extreme turmoil for the agency, which could make finding a replacement difficult. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has accused the board's five members of repeatedly violating the Open Meeting Act. He is preparing a misdemeanor case against them.
All five have denied wrongdoing.
Prater offered in January not to file criminal charges if the board members resigned. Their attorneys notified Prater Feb. 1 they were rejecting the deal.
Jenks already had been planning to retire, and his decision is not part of any deal with prosecutors. He likely would have been charged, too, though, if he had stayed.
Jenks has been with the Pardon and Parole Board for 24 years. He has been executive director for 14 years. He already has stepped away from day-to-day duties at the agency so he can use up most of his accumulated leave.
In a Jan. 30 retirement letter, he told board members he has the highest regard for them. “Although it can at times be a difficult and trying job, I believe it is a vital component of the Criminal Justice system and appreciate the long hours each of you commits to the process,” he wrote.
The parole board on Tuesday chose its general counsel to take over as acting executive director for the next six months. “I will do my best,” general counsel Tracy George said.