Baynes Withdraws from OJJDP Consideration

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Karen Baynes has withdrawn her name from consideration for the top job at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

Baynes, who was recommended for the job by the Department of Justice, cited family concerns as the reason for her withdrawal. Her fiancée Art Dunning, vice president for public service and outreach at the University of Georgia, was last week named vice chancellor of international programs and outreach for the University of Alabama. The two will be married on New Year’s Eve.

The notion of moving away to Washington right after getting married was “most definitely a factor” in her decision, Baynes told JJ Today.

Instead, Baynes will also join the Alabama staff. She said she is optimistic that the University would allow her to continue working on juvenile justice issues, which was part of her portfolio in her last job as associate director of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

“We’re working on that,” she said of a possible juvenile justice project at Alabama.

Now that she has withdrawn, it is anyone’s guess how long it will take President Barack Obama to nominate an OJJDP administrator. A nomination could come quickly, since a handful of candidates were already interviewed by Justice officials (although one of them, Vincent Schiraldi, has already accepted another job). Or, the administration could go back to the drawing board on long-term OJJDP leadership, and leave Acting Administrator Jeff Slowikowski in charge for awhile.

Either way, with a holiday recess coming up at some point for Congress, it is hard to imagine a new administrator actually taking over until spring.